When your best friend calls you at 6 a.m. and invites you to a 7:30 a.m. breakfast at the JQ Hammons, be ready for your life to change.
Kasey Meadows had been living in Northwest Arkansas for more than a decade at the time of that call. Having a heart for children, she had run across CASA during her time as a volunteer with the Children’s Shelter. But, with a full-time job in the vendor community, Kasey wasn’t sure she could commit to serving as an advocate too. After attending the Light of Hope breakfast that fated day, Kasey realized the time was now and she attended her CASA 101 info session that very night.
Fast forward two years. Kasey just closed her first case and admits it was truly eye-opening. Not only are advocates immersed in the complexities of the child welfare system, but in serving, one’s own preconceptions and beliefs are tested. After six months on her first case, Kasey’s research led her to conclude that the case was headed toward termination of parental rights. When the judge then ruled to provide the biological parents more time to work their case, Kasey’s heart and mind were challenged. But seeing the parents on her case make huge life changes and fight for their kids proved to Kasey that people are capable of change.
While she’s witnessed setbacks and more than one heart ache on behalf of her kids, Kasey keeps rolling with the punches. As frustrating as the system may be, she knows she has to show up for the child. Without Kasey’s determination and attention to detail, among other things, her CASA kids may never have received much-needed therapies or a new pair of glasses. Kasey knows that what might seem small to one person can mean the world to a child.
Lucky for us all, Kasey is on case number two with no intent to stop now. When asked what she would tell someone who is considering becoming a CASA, Kasey replied, “It’s fascinating, eye-opening, and sometimes hard. You learn so much in the process. But nothing beats the feeling that you’ve made a difference in the life of a child.”