To most, Nene Weaver appears as a loving wife and dedicated mother to two children. That she is. But, to her friends at CASA, she’s much, much more.
When Nene and her family first moved to Northwest Arkansas from California in 2014, Nene immersed herself in the community by volunteering with the Gives Back Program in Bentonville schools and starting in 2015 with the Junior Auxiliary of Rogers/Bentonville. As a volunteer with these programs, Nene discovered the large number of foster children in need in our area. After hearing of CASA, she was immediately interested in getting involved. But, because CASA volunteers advocate for children in court, Nene assumed a law degree would be required. Fortunately, a friend cleared up that misconception (a common one), and Nene completed CASA training in January 2016.
Her CASA supervisor, Chris Collins, describes Nene as a quiet, unstoppable force. Nene isn’t a big fan of the limelight. She works diligently behind the scenes to solve problems and find resources. When a door shuts, she is relentless to find another avenue. Her humility and compassion attracts people to her and in turn, the kids she serves get what they need – be it medical care, DHS referrals, etc. Nene says her role as a CASA advocate all comes down to respect, understanding, and communication.
To illustrate the kind of advocate Nene is, we return to a day in court many months ago. While waiting for her case to be heard, Nene heard a case of two children whose CASA advocate had passed away. The CASA had become a very important part in the children’s lives. While the siblings were closing in on a long journey in foster care, Nene insisted on taking the case and seeing it through to the end. Nene wanted to honor the advocate and her “CASA kids” and be there, with donuts, to celebrate on adoption day.
When Nene talks to others about being a CASA volunteer, a quote from Colin Powell often comes to mind: “If you want to save the world, start by saving one child.” While Nene may never admit it, we can vouch for her . . . she’s saved many more than one.