The wheels are always in motion here at the CASA House, and today we’re excited to kick off a new/revamped blog series — Volunteer Fridays! We’re beyond thrilled to honor our amazing Volunteer Advocates for their dedicated service, and we think you’ll enjoy getting to know them and learning more about what motivates folks to step up and give voices to the abused and neglected children of our community.
For our very first new-and-improved Volunteer Friday, we’d like to introduce you to one of our newest CASA Nashville Volunteer Advocates, Denise Grissette. Denise recently completed our autumn training, graduated on November 20th, and has already accepted her first case! We caught up with her recently for a quick Q & A.
What motivated you to become a volunteer with CASA?
“My motivation for becoming a CASA Volunteer stems from a number of reasons. However, I must say that having the opportunity to be a support and speak for individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to speak for themselves is a great motivation!”
Tell us a little about your background and how your experiences helped prepare you for your work as a CASA Volunteer.
“I grew up under some pretty rough circumstances myself. These circumstances have not only helped mold me for life, but have also equipped me to be able to empathize with the families and children that I will encounter as a CASA volunteer.
My two sisters and I were abandoned by our mother at an early age. For whatever reason, our mother decided one day that she could no longer care for us. She took us to a cousin’s home and left, promising to return in a few days. The days became months. We were ages one, two, and three, and her cousin was unable to care for us. My father was contacted and he came to get us as soon as he could.
Although my father did his very best, raising three girls was a difficult task. A lot of times he depended on the women in his life to care for us. As you can imagine, that wasn’t always good.
My sisters and I all stayed with our father until we were about 12 years old. Once we reached that age, we left home one by one to live alone in an adult world.
During that time, places like CASA and people like those of us who work and volunteer for CASA were not so common. Because my sisters and I lacked a voice and support, we experienced neglect, mistreatment, and abuse that might have been avoided if certain services were in place. However, through these experiences, I am better equipped to recognize dysfunctional situations and to show compassion for children that may be under similar circumstances.”
What advice would you give someone on the fence about becoming a CASA?
“If you have a heart for helping and a desire to impact the lives of our youth by letting them know that there are people who care and who are on their side, then CASA is the place for you!”
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Denise, and thank you for being a part of our journey!
Denise, pictured at her swearing-in ceremony with CASA Nashville Executive Director Jane Andrews.