--Stephanie Adrean, UGA Student, Athens-Oconee CASA Volunteer
Stephanie Adrean, a dedicated volunteer of our Athens-Oconee Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, has just graduated from the University of Georgia in May and is going to start law school in the fall. She has been volunteering for CASA program for a year and a half since she turned 21 and has worked five cases.
Stephanie was first drawn to CASA out of her interests in the legal field. In the fall of 2010, she was informed about the CASA program after speaking with the wife of her professor who worked as a public defender in the juvenile court. She became interested in the program as it would fulfill her desire to explore the legal field while also working with children.
Later Stephanie began the training process right before her 21st birthday in the winter of 2010. “I did not know what I was getting myself into,” as she recalled, feeling the responsibilities she was going to take, “the training was information heavy and I could not believe the position I was about to hold.” However, the training was just the beginning. At the start of March 2010, she received her first case.
In the past year and a half, Stephanie has worked five cases. As a CASA volunteer, she has been dedicated to developing a relationship with the child in each case. She not only investigated and gathered information, but also listened to those children’s concerns. Before each hearing took place, she would write an objective report to inform the judge of all developments in the case. Included in those reports are her recommendations which are tailored to fit the best interests of the children. “Although all final decisions are left to the judge, my input can and does make a difference,” said Stephanie.
For Stephanie, her interest in the legal field was what drew her to CASA in the beginning. However, the reason for her to volunteer now is very different. Growing up in a family with caring and dedicated parents, she has been surrounded with love, affection, and security throughout her childhood. As she listens to the concerns of neglected and abused children, she has developed a strong will to help them and to bring care and love into their lives.
“Although not every case would turn out to be a successful story, when you work it out successfully, the reward is infinite,” said Stephanie. She will start law school this fall at UGA and will continue to volunteer as a CASA to make a difference in more children’s lives.