Volunteer Spotlight Janauary 2013
Octavia Starbuck

From Virginia to Georgia and back to Virginia I continuously saw signs about CASA and I thought to myself that this was something I'd like to know more about and perhaps one day volunteer. I have to admit I dragged my feet, yet CASA continued to pop up everywhere I went. In January 2006 I bit the bullet and turned in an application, was interviewed, and started the training, pulling a co-worker and friend along with me. What a huge responsibility I undertook as the Judge swore me in: "I pledge to faithfully carry out the obligations of this appointment acting at all times in the best interest of the child(ren). Pursuant to Sections 9,1-153 of the Code of Virginia, as a Court Appointed Special Advocate I shall...." Six years later I continue to walk the CASA path advocating for the children the Court entrusts me with. I now keep a CASA sign in my yard, trusting that it will encourage others to volunteer their voices as CASAs for children.

Volunteering as a CASA is my small way of giving back to my community. It is a great privilege for me to be a part of CASA and to have "CASA Kids." Recently a gentleman who shall remain anonymous asked me if I was going to get Christmas presents for my CASA kids and when I said yes, he pulled out his wallet and handed me a monetary gift telling me to get them something from Secret Santa. We all do our volunteering in different ways --giving time, sharing talents, making financial gifts to CASA and to the United Way which in turn supports the CASA program, uplifting prayer, and providing encouragement and passion for CASA.

All of the children I have advocated for have been delightful, smart, so trusting, and in most cases so resilient in the situation they've found themselves. My most memorable CASA moment was at Jefferson's Poplar Forest when I heard this little voice say, "Excuse me, I have a question." This petite little third grade girl, pushing up her glasses on her nose, writing in a notebook, and lagging behind her classmates who were dashing to the bus following lunch and their field trip, stopped me to ask what crops Mr. Jefferson grew at Poplar Forest. I answered her question, thinking I know this child. She walked a few steps and then turned back to me and said, "Miss Octavia, is that you?" And as soon as she said my name, I knew her. She had grown up! And she had grown into such a little lady who obviously liked history (my small contribution perhaps?), smart, cute, well adjusted, and just plain adorable. We hugged and chatted and got her to the bus. What a great day for me! Precious in my sight (Isaiah 43:4) - yes, indeed!! These children we advocate for are precious in our sight and in our care we strive to do all we can for them.
-written by Octavia Starbuck and
Published by the United Way of Central Virginia
January, 2013

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