Drive about 15 minutes outside the chaos of Nashville—sitting on a 7-acre campus down a winding road, inside the side door and around the corner, you will find Britt Edwards engineering music. Center Street Recording Studios is not just a place for mixing and mastering music: it is home to one of our CASA volunteers.
Britt Edwards shatters every notion that you may have about a social worker or a lawyer being a CASA volunteer. Having worked professionally in the music industry for 15 years, he brings a fresh perspective on being a child advocate.
“My wife and I were foster parents for two years. And it was a good experience, but it opened our eyes to a lot of realities that make being in foster care difficult,” Edwards explained.
Sitting on the couch of the recording studio, he recounts the stories and memories of having foster children.
“We would often see kids or details fall through the cracks,” Edwards describes. “One time, one of our foster girls was supposed to be in court but was never told about it. Another time, we were given the wrong date. We as resource parents felt limited because we could only call our one person. We just saw a lot of details fall by the wayside. So I started thinking about other ways to get involved.”
After a brief stint volunteering at a mentorship program, Edwards still did not feel he was making an impact. After stumbling upon CASA, he feels like he finally found a place to truly make a difference.
“I thought [CASA] was a great fit for me because I had learned the ins and outs of the system and knew where the cracks were,” Edwards explained. “I felt like I could help bridge those gaps that were there.”
It didn’t take long for Edwards to become passionately involved in CASA. Now, looking at his own three children, he feels stronger than ever about the need for advocacy in the juvenile court system for those affected by neglect and abuse.
“I can’t imagine a child that young just being tossed around within foster care without having a consistent person speaking up for them,” he shared. “For me, I caught fire really quickly. I felt like my heart was really open to it.”
Edwards has raved about his experience so much that 7 of his friends have gone through training. He joked that he would pay someone 20 bucks just to go through training.
Despite working in the studio, Edwards also manages to work for a non-profit and have an active life with his family. For fun, he enjoys working on yard projects with his kids and taking in the local art scene.
“I love Nashville,” Edwards said. “ I’m not a city guy. Nashville as a geographic location is fine to me, I could take it or leave it, but it’s the people I really enjoy. I really love the art community and the music scene. Those things you can’t get anywhere else. You have the southern hospitality mixed with art and the fast paced side of parts of New York and Los Angeles. I like that blending a lot.”
In addition to his love for art, Edwards teaches a class that focuses a lot on issues of the foster care system. He emphasized that people need to be educated about the importance of advocacy for kids within this system.
“There are half a million kids in foster care,” Edwards shared. “They are an invisible demographic. I think people know they exist, but they don’t think about them. There is a whole demographic in our society being harmed by a system we created for them.”
Edwards encourages those unfamiliar with this invisible demographic to research and seek out answers for themselves. He is convinced that once you know about this problem, it is difficult not to do something.
“If you have [about] ten hours a month—if you have that little bit of time to do something for the greater good of a kid you wouldn’t meet otherwise, it just seems like a no brainer. It’s not simple, but it’s easy.”