Two years ago, our February Volunteer of the Month, Alice Quinn, found herself in an unnerving, uncertain situation faced by many before her: an empty nest. With her son and daughter out of the house, Alice realized she had some available time on her hands. She briefly considered enrolling in training to become a foster parent, but then she found CASA during one of her Google searches. CASA struck her as a great match for her interests and professional experience as a legal assistant. Alice completed CASA training in May 2017 and was sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in June.
Like many new CASAs, this Wanaque resident recalls feeling nervous about traveling to unfamiliar areas of Passaic County, and also that the time commitment might be more than she could juggle with a full-time job. Alice was also nervous about how she would be received by the adults in her cases, especially biological parents. Thankfully, she decided to hope for the best and not let worries hold her back. “It’s good to step outside your comfort zone,” she now says with a smile.
The first case Alice took on was that of a four-year old girl, who Alice has clearly enjoyed getting to know. She also took on a second case involving a four-year old boy who has had ongoing speech problems and anger management issues, which Alice has helped him address by advocating for play therapy.
Alice describes being a CASA volunteer as “next to raising my children, the most rewarding thing I’ve done.” She also sees herself as proof that it is never too late to take on new challenges or try new things, and clearly enjoys fulfilling the role of the CASA volunteer. And with enjoyment often comes excellence. When Sarah During, Alice’s CASA Case Supervisor, nominated her for the Volunteer of the Month recognition, she said, “Alice is incredibly consistent and reliable.” Sarah added, “She always attends court, submits court reports on-time, and visits the children on her cases every month, without fail.”
Alice admits that friends and family sometimes ask her how she finds the time to volunteer. She attributes her motivation to her faith and a deep desire to make the most of every day. “God has blessed me with health, and I have a duty to give back,” she explains. “I have to give what I can. When my life is up, I don’t plan to take anything with me.”