Jordan Light

This month, CASA of Northwest Arkansas is proud to highlight Jordan Light in our CASA Volunteer Spotlight. Jordan is bright, engaging, and friendly, and her background makes her uniquely motivated to advocate for teens and older youth in foster care. We’re honored that she is willing to share some of her story.

“The story of my upbringing is a true Cinderella story. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas with the most humble of beginnings. My mother was a single parent, who struggled with hoarding and a myriad of other undiagnosed mental illnesses. We lived in deplorable conditions, and while her love for me was undeniably unconditional, it was still unsafe.

I left home at age 15, suffered from a staph infection that nearly cost me my leg, and from there was shuffled through several different programs designed for “troubled teens”, all of which caused more damage than anything else. I spent 95 days at SUWS of the Carolinas, a wilderness camp that involved hiking miles every day with an 80-pound hiking pack. From there, I was ushered off to Boulder Creek Academy, a “therapeutic boarding school” that has now been closed. Following this, I attended Ascent Wilderness Program (the same program that Paris Hilton has spoken about). While at Ascent, I was scouted for a program in Oregon. I spent two years Oregon, and still bear the invisible scars of the abuse I experienced.

I had been away from home for four years at this point and had no intention of coming back to Arkansas! But after my experience in Oregon, I gained the courage I needed to make my escape home in 2010. Once I returned to Little Rock, a sweet angel of a woman connected me with Youth Bridge, a program that helped young people transition to adulthood. With their support, I was able to graduate high school when I was 20.

I lost my mother when I was 22 and struggled to cope with this loss. I found myself getting involved in the “party scene” which led to additional challenges and troubles. But by the time I was 24, I started creating a foundation of good choices that would lead to a brighter future for myself. I worked on myself with years of therapy, involvement in a recovery program, and education.

I believe that the most important human purpose is to help our fellows. No one makes it to success alone. I know I didn’t.

Given my history, I am very interested in serving young people who are the age I was when I needed someone to care the most. Prior to volunteering with CASA of NWA, I was a mentor to five teen girls through the Youth Bridge Mentor Program from the Benton County Juvenile Court System. I was also a Big Sister through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. While both of these are valuable and impactful programs, I wanted to find a way to give even more.

I learned about CASA through the Children’s Safety Center, and through two people who were currently CASAs who inspired me.

In 2018 I was sworn in as an advocate and I’ve been assigned to six cases in total. All three of my closed cases were successful reunifications with primary caregivers and I am happy to report that things are still going well for them!

I am currently serving three cases, one with a young boy and two with teen girls. I have been with them throughout the legal processes, placement in institutional settings, and the utter heartbreak of moving from one home/facility to another. I choose to advocate mainly for teens because they are so often forgotten by families looking to adopt, and by society in general.

My CASA Supervisor, Rachel, has been involved in child welfare for over a decade. I admire her dedication, empathy, attention to detail, and her undying thirst for knowledge. She genuinely cares about the welfare of others, and that keeps me motivated and inspires me to be my best in any given situation.

In addition to serving as an advocate, I am an artist, currently rebranding to Jordan Light Art. My husband, Jackson (who is also a CASA), and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Indigo in 2022.

I continue to serve as a CASA because these kiddos need extra support! Often a CASA is a beacon of hope and a lifeline to the outside world (especially for youth who are placed in institutional settings). But most importantly, a CASA is a familiar person, a safe and trusted connection. I believe time is the most valuable resource one can share with a person, especially with those who have had a shaky foundation and are vulnerable. I hope to be able to spend more time with my CASA kids this upcoming year. I like to make art, play games, or just chat with them.

As a CASA, I believe it is my duty to help these young people become self-sufficient adults who can be as successful as possible! This work is the hardest, and thus the most rewarding. It’s plain and simple, I love being useful!”

Thank you, Jordan, for your willingness to serve your CASA kids in such meaningful ways.

If you’d like to learn more about how you too can step up to advocate for a child or young person in foster care, visit https://www.nwacasa.org/volunteer/requirements-training/.