“I wanted a reality check,” said Gina Ellis, a self-described retired young woman with a love for children. “I am human which means I am not perfect. For example, I do think it is the end of the world when I have to be somewhere and there is traffic. I do complain when my Facebook app isn’t working. I wanted to be a CASA volunteer because it made me realize that there are greater problems in the world – like an abused or neglected child who has no one to advocate for them.”
Gina first thought about becoming a CASA volunteer two years ago during a mission trip to the Appalachian Mountains. “I had the opportunity to love on the children of this impoverished community,” says Gina. “Half of the children are living with foster parents or grandparents. As I was playing with the children and listening to their fears, concerns and wishes, I learned more about myself and realized I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. I wanted to fight for them. My pastor at the time pulled me aside and said I would be a good fit for CASA. At that time I thought, ‘What can I do?’ For two years it was in the back of my mind. I continued to visit this community two times a year. One day as I was scrolling social media I saw the ad and decided it was time to see if I was a good fit for CASA.”
Gina is a mother of three adult children in addition to two bonus children, as well as a grandma to twelve. “Now that I have free time I have volunteered with different non-profits that involved helping children,” says Gina. “My first reason for becoming a CASA is because I genuinely want to help kids and want to be a voice for them. These kids did not ask to be abused and/or neglected and so I think it is our duty, as adults, to help them in any way possible.”
Gina is also a Sunday school teacher for ages 3-5. She enjoys Zumba, quilting, coffee, and making crafts. She enjoys serving on local mission trips and getting to be Santa’s elf during their Christmas trip. She also loves car rides with her husband that include grabbing a cup of coffee and exploring various venues in Nashville and surrounding areas. “I love to karaoke only because I get people laughing – I can’t sing,” says Gina. “I enjoy my summers on the lake; we have a cabin cruiser so every weekend in the summer we are spending time with family and friends.
Gina’s advice for someone on the fence of becoming a CASA volunteer?
“If you have clicked on one of the CASA ads you are interested. All it takes is a love for children and their safety. I would suggest filling out the application, attending the training session. During training a few of the cases are discussed and role-played. It is your time to ask questions (i.e. amount of time needed to spend on a case, your role as their advocate, and further commitment). At this time, if you feel it isn’t for you nothing was lost as you may know a friend or family member that would want to be involved.”
Gina is for the child because “during this difficult time for children, moving around, feeling unsettled, I want to be their voice, the face they recognize as a friend. I want to be someone to listen to their wants and needs. To speak on their behalf.”
Thank you, Gina, for your willingness to be that voice for these children!
Take a chance.
Lift up a child’s voice. A child’s life.™
Find out more about CASA here.