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Congratulations to the Advocate of the Month for March: Terri Straubmuller

Nature lover, traveler, CASA Advocate

Five and a half years ago, Terri’s love for children and desire to provide support to the community led her in the direction of volunteering as a court appointed special advocate. Little did she know what experiences that journey would hold for her, and little did we know just how strong and determined her sweet spirit would be. When it comes to helping a child, there is no stopping her efforts. You’d never know it sitting beside her, and you’ll never catch her sharing the impact she’s making, but Terri truly changes lives every day.

Ten lives as a matter of fact since she joined the CASA of CGS team in November, 2017; 13 if you count the CASA staff who are grateful for the opportunity to run alongside of her as she works her humble magic.

Terri has donated over 1,400 hours of her life to CASA children within the past 5 ½ years. These hours were spent building vision boards with a teen mom, supporting and encouraging her dream of building a life with her little boy; advocating for medically fragile children so they could remain where they were stable and able to thrive; with a young girl making her way through multiple new homes and making her smile and feel every bit of the value she is worth; and countless other moments the children she has served will cherish for the rest of their lives. Terri doesn’t just say she’ll be there, she shows up, holds your hand, gives you a hug, and lets you know - she believes in your purpose.

“Volunteering as a CASA advocate has strengthened my ties to the community and exposed me to people with similar interests. It is a great way to meet new people and build relationships. Advocating for children in foster care is an important role and I am proud to be part of making our world a better place,” Terri said.

Cumberland County Advocate Coordinator, Vivian, eagerly shared her support, “If you asked me to use only one word to describe Terri in her role as CASA, the word is faithful. Terri consistently visits her child, enters contact logs, and prepares her court reports. No matter the challenge, Terri always comes through for her CASA child and captures for the court not only her worries, but also her dreams and hopes!”

Cara, Salem County Advocate Coordinator, echoes the sentiment felt by Vivian, “Terri has been right by one of her CASA children for three years straight. She is a guardian angel to a child that has been moved to seven different placements and with each of those changes, Terri was this little girl’s constant. She always shows up with a smile and provides such comfort and sweetness to every situation. Terri is one of the most gentle souls I have ever met and working alongside her is simply a gift. Terri, our CASA children are so lucky to have you, their very own guardian angel.”

"It has given me the chance to make a meaningful contribution to children who need love and stability in their life. It’s fulfilling to know that as their voice, their consistent presence, their advocate, you are part of finding a better life for a child."

Advocating for children in foster care isn’t for the faint of heart; It requires grit, grace, patience, and compassion. From the moment Terri walked through the door, she held each of these qualities in seemingly endless supply, extending them with profound professionalism, no matter how trying the circumstance.

Volunteering as a CASA is a role that encourages individuals to never stop learning and growing as they seek to support the children within the communities in the best way possible. “The past five and a half years as a CASA volunteer has made me realize my purpose in life - to help those in need, to uplift lives and to appreciate the life I have. It has helped me build empathy and a better understanding of humanity,” said Terri.

Of her experience with the CASA program, Terri says, “I feel CASA of CGS has maintained a strong record in their advocate support. The supervisors are in constant communication and always willing to help. Whether it’s to provide information, get an update, general discussion of the case or to just check in, I never feel alone. They offer opportunities to gather with other advocates and staff members for monthly air and shares as well as training classes throughout the year. CASA of CGS has a very caring and motivating staff.”

Named Advocate of the Month in 2018, and Advocate of the Year in 2020, Terri continues to represent the mission of the program through her strength, compassion, and never ending consistent presence in the lives of the children she serves. While she could never be convinced to believe just how impactful her service is, our program is appreciative of the opportunity to support her through the journey.

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