Thursday, March 31, 2011

volunteer spotlight: Frank Aff

In May of 2009, Frank Aff was visiting Dozer Days, thinking about mentoring children when he came across the CASA display table. In conversing with the representative, Frank found what he was looking for, plus some. CASA works directly with ywca clark county, and Frank found this even more intriguing. He states, “When I learned more and saw the partnership CASA had with the ywca I was really interested to be a part of it. I’m familiar with the services the ywca provides to the community and see great value in those services.”

Frank started volunteer training that September. He soon discovered that besides fulfilling his desire to work with children, this also provided a great opportunity to learn about the legal system. Frank was provided with many resources, and support and guidance from the CASA Program. With his new found knowledge-base and support from the CASA Program, Frank felt confident visiting his client for the first time.

It’s been over a year since that first visit, and Frank finally sees the case coming to an end. During this experience, Frank said he learned a lot about the legal system, the struggles of children and families facing legal intervention, and about hidden and illicit threats to our community. In addition to this personal growth, Frank found the experience to be beneficial to his family as well. He says that they recognize the impact that he’s making in the lives of others, and that makes them proud. His work, which encourages community involvement, has also been very supportive.

When asked what elements of volunteering with CASA have been most rewarding, Frank speaks of personal fulfillment. Knowing that you’re helping someone, and getting to be immersed into somebody else’s life have been the highlights of his experience. “The boy that I’m a CASA for is 4 years old, and when I see him he’s so excited, and I’m just his buddy. I enjoy being able to provide that healthy, consistent relationship.”

Frank doesn’t see an end in sight to his volunteering with the CASA Program. Besides his passion for the work, he’s also well aware of the funding cuts that CASA and partner organizations are facing. To those considering volunteering, Frank says, “Anybody who wants to make a difference, particularly if they have a heart for youth and for children, will find this to be great way to engage, knowing that you will have the info and support that you need to be able to be effective in that role.”

Frank’s passion and commitment do not go unnoticed. Jo Waddell, Director of the ywca clark county CASA Program, recommended Frank for the Volunteer Spotlight. “Frank is a great volunteer. He builds excellent working relationships with the professionals and family members. He’s able to focus on the child’s welfare and parent accountability in a way that is encouraging and hopeful. Most importantly, Frank is a good role model for his CASA child, and the child looks up to and confides in him. I take comfort in knowing that this child’s welfare is in good hands with Frank.”

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