“When I got my first case, I couldn’t believe some of the things these kids go through.”
When a CASA volunteer is appointed to a case, there is so much potential to change a child’s life—providing direction to the case plan, sharing important information with the court, fighting for services that the child receives, etc.— but what is less apparent, is how being a CASA can change the volunteer’s life.
This was the case for Brentt Tumey, a 5-year CASA veteran, and an incredibly passionate individual whose life completely changed after becoming a CASA volunteer.
“I’m a construction guy, and I think way more people need to know about CASA. If you ever get a bad case, I don’t know how that doesn’t change your world, to know that stuff goes on daily by the tens of thousands.”
Brentt grew up in northern Illinois but has been in Northwest Arkansas for about 23 years now. Brentt’s family and support system are made up of his wife Jessica of 22 years, and his kids, Brooke and Maxx. They keep him grounded, and he loves spending as much time as he can with them. Brentt and Jessica run a National Commercial Specialty Drywall Contractor, Drywall Crews, Inc. Brentt built up their company from nothing, and his path to success is unlike most.
Earlier in his life, Brentt was tangled up on the wrong side of the criminal justice system. As a troubled teenager, he ran with the wrong crowd and made poor decisions that put him on the street and in trouble. After seeing those around him that he considered friends go down the wrong path, he realized he needed to make a choice: continue heading nowhere but prison or worse, or stop and turn back to become a different person. He wanted to be better, so that is what he did.
Brentt’s personal development paved the way for his later success. He has built a successful and diverse construction company, was able to get his record officially cleared up, and even started a nonprofit, Saving Children and Reviving Souls (S.C.A.R.S.), which focuses on creating awareness and advocacy for child victims of abuse and neglect.
This is how CASA completely changed his life. Brentt could see the impact he was making as a CASA on the individual child, but he wanted to take it to the next level. Shortly after becoming a CASA and being exposed to the sheer number of children abused and neglected in Arkansas each year, he founded S.C.A.R.S. “[CASA] really opened the door to what’s going on,” said Brentt, and he was prepared to dedicate his time and resources all the way to the top. He began building relationships with other child advocates with larger public reach to bring awareness to child abuse and neglect.
“If I can get someone to think there is a path out, and to take that path and do good things with it, it makes it better for all the people involved, especially themselves.”
Brentt’s background is incredibly unique, and he wants people to know that no matter your background, no matter your situation, there’s a way to better yourself. He is proof that you can make a change for the better. This is one of the reasons why he loves CASA. He is a role model; someone a child can trust. He doesn’t have to be there, and the children know that. They know they have someone by their side fighting for them in the courtroom and answering their calls no matter the time.
Brentt has his own support within CASA, as well. His advocate supervisors “…have been awesome. They’ve been nothing but supportive of me… and I can’t do my advocating without them,” Brentt said.
“There’s a child that needs me right now. My interest in this is making sure someone is being taken care of.”
Before he knew about CASA, Brentt had been making massive successful strides in his life since he chose a better path for himself. After becoming a CASA, though, his outlook on everything truly changed. Being exposed to child abuse and neglect is what led him to start an organization whose mission it is to advocate for them, and he thinks more people need to know about it so they can support the proper changes in order to create a better system for those children. Brentt is helping change their stories because they helped change his.