Claire Williams

Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, giving to others was a way of life for Claire Williams and her family.

Claire is the middle daughter of two police officers, and her childhood home was always open to friends and family. “My mother was always taking in additional family, providing temporary accommodation for relatives and family friends’ children during transition periods. We had extended family around us growing up – my spiritual mother, godparents, and our favorite uncle who {would} pop in any time of the week.”

With a background like that, it’s no wonder that Claire was drawn to volunteering. From Connecticut to Florida, South Africa to New Jersey, Claire has been invested in giving to her community in a variety of ways – serving a local food bank, raising scholarship and capital – funds for her high school alma mater, helping a women’s cooperative and securing needed supplies for schools in South Africa, and teaching algebra, to name a few. She is especially interested in supporting women and children. “I love and enjoy working with children – care deeply about their welfare and reaching their full potential, which all stems from my childhood upbringing.”

When Claire moved to Northwest Arkansas, it didn’t take her long to find a way to give back in her new home. “I heard about CASA through the Hamilton family who are both active in this program… First, I engaged by providing a financial contribution but could not commit as a volunteer…” Claire soon realized that she had already heard about CASA 15+ years earlier while living in New Jersey!

“One year later, I was invited to CASA Light of Hope Breakfast which was emotionally stirring and led me to volunteer.”

Claire is quickly approaching her 1-year CASAversary and she reflects that “…just seeing the difference you can make as a volunteer in both a child and mother’s lives have been rewarding for me. Although my first case has had an unfavorable result for Mom, just being there for her along her sobriety journey, building trust and advocating for her child based on her wishes have been very fulfilling.”

Claire who led a busy professional life guiding organizations and teams through complex enterprise transformations and initiatives dedicated the last year to volunteerism and travel. She maintains connections with her godchildren, lifelong friends, and family members through Facetime, WhatsApp, and group chats.  Claire is a committed and consistent presence in the life of her CASA child and his mother as well. Her CASA Supervisor, Kayla Tave, remarks “Claire travels a lot and does not miss a beat. She visits her kiddo, updates me often, visits the mom on her case, has her reports to me early, and talks with the worker often. She is just a delight!”

Despite challenges she has faced in working her first case, Claire always keeps the best interests of her CASA child in her mind. “I want everything to move quicker, especially when the possible outcome is known. The lengthy process…sometimes creates instability/disruption for a child and anxiety for the parent.” Even still, Claire finds a lot of joy in building a relationship with her CASA child. “My favorite thing is visiting, playing with my CASA baby (“Little Man”), and seeing how happy safe, and healthy he is. If he is not with his mom, you are the center of his attention, showing off his toys, bringing you books to read to him, and giving you the biggest hugs.”

From the sunny island of Jamaica to the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas (with many stops in between!), we are sure glad that Claire found her way to CASA of NWA!

If you’d like to learn more about  joining Claire and becoming a CASA volunteer, visit https://www.nwacasa.org/volunteer/requirements-training/.