Janett Jacobs, LMSW, LCAC
Dr. Gary Harmon
Marrylee Armstrong remembers one of her first experience as a CASA, which didn’t have a promising start.
“One little girl growled and scowled at me,” Armstrong said of a young girl she had just met for the first time. “But by the time that case was over, that little girl and I were friends. We would take long walks and read books together. That was so rewarding.”
Those types of experiences are why Armstrong has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate for more than five years now.
“Our goal is seeing families get back on their feet and going in the right direction,” Armstrong says. “We have to remember the little smiles we get when we work with the children.”
Armstrong was encouraged by a neighbor to get involved with volunteering in 2002. The neighbor suggested a nursing home, and Marrylee tried working with hospice. When she saw advertisements about being a CASA, however, she knew that was what she wanted to do,
“I had been in the Wichita Children’s Home when I was only two, after my parent’s divorce, “she recalls. “ I didn’t remember much, but what I remembered wasn’t pleasant. Trying to help children be safe and well taken care of drew me into being a CASA.”
At first Marrylee said she experienced anxiety about preparing reports that would be read by judges and lawyers – even though she’d had years of experience in the business world. As she went through training, Marrylee understood she would have support during each case from other volunteers and the program director.