This week is Volunteer Appreciation week and what better way to appreciate our volunteers than to recognize two of our CASA volunteer advocates. Let’s meet two of our volunteers, the Ernes, and see why they are so special to us here at CASA of Kosciusko County.
Brian Erne has been a CASA volunteer for 5 years. Brian wanted to volunteer more after retiring from UPS and when he heard about CASA, the was hooked, Brian says, “the combination of helping children who have been mistreated and being involved in the court system sounded incredible to me.” He finds time to volunteer between his time kayaking and hosting karaoke.
Brian’s daughter Elizabeth Erne has been a CASA volunteer for one year and balances this with her full time job, her love of learning and being a foodie who loves to try new foods. Elizabeth is a 4th grade teacher and knew she wanted to volunteer after seeing how it impacted her father. “Having a full time job and being younger than most CASAs I was very hesitant. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time or energy to keep up with it. I just decided to do it and I am extremely proud of myself for making this decision and have really enjoyed it.”
They became CASA volunteers at very different points in their life but it has brought them even closer. Teaming up with her father was an easy decision for Elizabeth. Elizabeth explains, “My dad has more experience than me so he adds background knowledge and previous experiences to our cases. Dad and I also have different views at times so it’s nice to talk through the aspects of our case. I really think this benefits the children and families we work with because they get two people advocating for them and ensuring they get the best care and support.”
Both Brian and Elizabeth feel being a CASA volunteer has added value to their life. Elizabeth notes it has been a bonding experience for her and her dad while also allowing her to fill her desire to serve others. Brian believes being a CASA volunteer has allowed him to forget about the busy hectic things in his life “and concentrate on doing whatever I can to help others.”
Both Ernes agree, they would tell anyone on the fence about CASA to jump and do it! Brian explained when talks to people about CASA, “the thing that surprises people the most is when I explain to them how much you get out of it as a volunteer. It is not just beneficial to the children; it is good for your own soul.” Elizabeth concurs her time with CASA has been a very positive experience.
We at the CASA office enjoy having you, Brian and Elizabeth, as great CASA volunteer advocates! We thank the Ernes for the time, love and passion they have given to vulnerable children as their Court Appointed Special Advocate.