Nursing is a tough profession. Between the long hours and many responsibilities, it takes a special person to want to be there for people when they are at their most vulnerable. Kathleen Ronan had just graduated nursing school and was beginning her new career in nursing when she happened to learn about CASA on Volunteermatch.org. She decided she still had more to give to others, and today she is one of Passaic County CASA’s youngest volunteer advocates. Despite juggling her responsibilities as a CASA volunteer advocate while working full-time in a demanding profession, Kathleen was recognized for her superb service by her Case Supervisor Michelle Schaefer and nominated to be our July 2018 Volunteer of the Month.
Clearly Kathleen has a special ability to manage responsibilities, a gift for empathy, and a seemingly endless desire to help others. This West Milford native also has a special place in her large heart for children. As a nurse she works with adults, so Kathleen sees being a CASA volunteer advocate as a way to continue working with children. Kathleen says she “can’t see myself not doing this,” and wishes other people her age knew about this opportunity to help others.
Kathleen has developed a special bond with the child she advocates for, whom she has known since the child was six months old. She also places great value on the legal dimensions of being a CASA volunteer advocate, and sees herself playing an important role in the court proceedings. “It can be a lot of back-and-forth with the lawyers,” she says, “but at the end of the day, there is a child.” She sees it as her job to remind everyone of the unique child being discussed, whose individuality can sometimes get lost in the legal shuffle.
Kathleen Ronan is proof that being young or working full-time does not preclude anyone from being an outstanding CASA volunteer advocate. Like Kathleen, you just need a large heart and the desire to help others. The rest will fall into place.