Consistency and dedication – the perfect two words to describe May’s CASA Volunteer of the Month, Sharon Brown.
Sharon has been a CASA volunteer since 2015, and in that time, she’s been an advocate for six children on six cases. Sharon’s service to children in foster care follows a nearly forty-two year career in pharmaceuticals, where she helped oversee the complicated process of getting life-saving medications approved and available for patient use. When retirement began to approach, Sharon decided she was ready to take on new challenges, and the steady patience she once applied to her work in pharmaceuticals was transferred to helping children succeed and thrive despite difficult times at home.
While each of her cases has been special for different reasons, Sharon cites her first case as the one that has had the greatest impact on her. She started as the CASA for a young boy, Kevin*, and was there for him during a difficult period of gained-then-lost custody with his biological mother. Understandably frustrated during a very uncertain process, Kevin told Sharon how much he hated his mother. In her rational and steady way, Sharon asked him to tell her the reasons why he felt that way. After Kevin was unable to list more than two reasons, she could see that his outlook on his mother softened.
This anecdote illustrates Sharon’s even-keeled approach when it comes to the children and families on her cases. No matter the situation, Sharon is known for displaying great diplomacy and effectively maintaining open lines of communication between all parties, even when it isn’t easy. For a period of time, Kevin’s biological mother didn’t have a cell phone, so the only way Sharon could communicate with her was to be ready at a moment’s notice to meet her in-person. While most people would not – or could not – be so accommodating, Sharon knew that regular communication with the boy’s mother was essential to remaining informed about her progress and recovery. So she did what was needed to achieve that end.
Sharon was thrilled to see Kevin’s eventual adoption by his resource parent, and has enjoyed watching him grow into a precocious and creative youth, who excels in school and loves to draw. A few years later, Kevin’s mother gave birth to a second baby boy, Damon*, and Sharon didn’t hesitate to take on his case as well. Happily, the same resource parent who adopted Kevin also adopted Damon, and so the brothers will grow up together in the same home. As is always the case with Sharon, she’s been someone that the boys have been able to count on in good times and bad. Indeed, Sharon’s case supervisor Sarah During sums up the consistency of Sharon’s volunteer service by saying, “She’s the person who is there in the beginning. And she’s still there at the end.”
* names have been changed to protect privacy