Kelley Kirker, Account Manager for email marketing company “Emma,” has a warm, engaging personality coupled with a sincere passion for and dedication to the things she believes in. She loves getting creative by doing hair and makeup for events, enjoys reading, the occasional Netflix binge, and seeing anyone perform on stage at the Ryman. Her happy place? Cooking dinner with some music on and a great glass of wine. Add going to the beach to that list and you’ve got her perfect day.
Kelley is also one of our newest CASA volunteers. She spoke excitedly about her journey leading to becoming a CASA volunteer and is thrilled to graduate from training on September 29th.
Kelley’s parents “always had a heart for taking in people without a home,” including a Cambodian family when Kelley was just a baby, and later a homeless family when she was in 3rd grade. They continued to serve others through their church in her later childhood years, and it is evident that now, as an adult herself, Kelley has this same desire to care for others.
After graduating from college with a degree in communications and a love for the counseling classes she got to take in her undergraduate program, Kelley worked in youth ministry for a few years at a church in South Carolina. The experience taught her a lot about family dynamics and she carries that experience with her today.
Kelley has wanted to be involved in the foster care system for about 15 years, but it wasn’t until she went to a TEDx event in Nashville in 2011 and listened to Jimmy Wayne speak about his life as a former foster child that she knew she needed to take action in any way she could. At the event, Kelley recalls Wayne speaking about his experience of being abandoned at a young age and having to grow up without a family to call his own. As Kelley listened to this story of trauma, pain, redemption and hope, something in her “just lit up,” and she thought, “this is going to be significant in my life.” Wayne’s childhood was filled with instability, and it wasn’t until he was a teenager that he found a happy and secure home with a kind couple. Kelley finds herself drawn to these older children in the foster system, wanting to help those who are the closest to aging out of the foster care system (meaning they are turning 18 years old and have not been reunified with their parents or adopted). Wanting to be a foster parent herself but not sure when she would have that opportunity, Kelley decided to pursue other ways of serving children in foster care. A CASA advertisement on the radio drew her attention, and now, here she is, about to graduate from the latest CASA Nashville volunteer training class.
Kelley encourages those that are even slightly interested in becoming a CASA volunteer to learn more. She emphasizes that “there is nothing to be afraid of” and to take a chance on this journey. As far as the time commitment, Kelley says that there is “exactly enough time for everything I need to do.” Once Kelley applied and was accepted to the program and began to make attending CASA trainings a priority, she realized that she had permission to prioritize things in her life. As a fulltime employee, Kelley has learned how to create boundaries to make room in her life for CASA.
Kelley loves being a part of something bigger than herself and getting to pour into the community one family at a time.
Kelley is for the child because she believes that every family deserves a chance.
Thank you, Kelley, for dedicating your time and heart to the abused and neglected children of Nashville. We are so glad to welcome you into the CASA family.