We thought it would be fun to learn more about our wonderful volunteers and share their experiences.
Meet Julie Folz. She has been a CASA Volunteer for 6 years. Julie is a graduate of Reitz High School and worked for many years at Mead Johnson. She and her husband George have two children, Sarah and Sally, who graduated from Mater Dei. Julie is keeping busy helping plan a wedding for her daughter Sally. She is very involved in the community and sits on the board for many non-profits. Thank you Julie for your commitment to CASA and the youth in our community!
What inspired you to become a CASA?
I am not certain how I first became aware of the CASA program but the idea of giving someone a voice in court was inspiring to me. Every time I saw a billboard or heard an ad on the radio, I thought they were speaking directly to me. When my children were becoming more self-sufficient, I felt the time was right, so I went to an information session 7 years ago. I didn’t tell anyone I was going in case I changed my mind.
What has surprised you most about being a CASA?
The thing that surprised me the most was how little I knew about the court system, CPS, community resources and overall what was going on in the community I had lived my entire life.
What is the best/worst thing that has happened to you as a CASA?
The best thing that has happened to me as a CASA is speaking up for the children and truly feeling like the outcome for them was better because I was involved. The worst thing that has happened is witnessing parents who repeatedly choose drugs over caring for their children.
The most meaningful event of your time as a CASA?
The most meaningful event was when a teenager I had advocated for reached out to me for help. It is not easy connecting with this age group so I was glad she trusted me with her problems and I was happy I could help.
What are some of your strongest beliefs about CASA?
I believe CASA is a wonderful organization. The training and support system are amazing and I love working with the entire team. I do believe that being a CASA volunteer is not for everyone. It is sometimes frustrating to navigate the bureaucracy and the outcomes are not always desirable. A CASA volunteer must be caring but not a push-over, demanding but not pushy, a good listener and collaborator.
What do you wish other people knew about CASA?
I wish people knew that Judge Niemeier considers CASA volunteers as his eyes and ears in the community. He wants us to help the court understand the true situation of the children because he can’t be everywhere. There is only so much you can put in a document, sometimes hearing our words and seeing us face-to-face helps the court make the best decision for the children.
What would you say to someone considering becoming a CASA?
If you are confident and competent, love children and want to learn about families outside your normal circle, come out and see what you think. The info session and training will help you know if it is right for you. Being a CASA is a very rewarding experience because our opinions are valued and we truly make a difference. It is hard work but you may love it!
Something we would be surprised to know about you?
People are usually surprised that I am on an 8-ball pool team. Our home location is Break Time Bar and Grill and we play in bars around town. I am not very good but have a lot of fun being part of the team.
What do you like to do when you aren’t volunteering as a CASA?
I enjoy traveling in the US, reading, playing pool & par 3 golf in addition to volunteering at my church and other organizations.