Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meet Val Anderson

By Emily Ostrowski

 One of the things we here at YWCA Clark County always love to do is acknowledge the incredible work and dedication of our employees and volunteers. Val Anderson is someone who is absolutely deserving of such acknowledgement. She has been with YWCA for 21 years and currently serves as the administrative specialist for our CASA Program. Val previously served as a clerk-stenographer, as well as an office manager for a federal government agency in downtown Portland. After the birth of her daughter, she took several years off work before deciding to look into getting a part-time job. She found an ad in the newspaper for an office assistant for the CASA Program and hasn’t looked back since.
From L to R: Heidi, Val, and Kathy
Val takes a great deal of pride in her work, and knows the importance of the CASA program. She understands that the work the staff and advocates of CASA do is unique and necessary to improve the lives of so many children in the community.

CASA Program Communication & Training Specialist Heidi Hiatt has worked with Val for several years, and can speak firsthand to her work ethic and passion. “Val is an amazing person. I had the pleasure of sharing an office with her for about a year. While “living together” I was able to witness directly how passionate she is about serving our program, the advocates, and the children and families we work with.”

 A large part of Val’s job is reading through countless abuse and neglect cases, a task which can be disheartening, but she makes sure to find ways to cope with the stress whether it be talking with a co-worker, taking a walk, or going across the street to Safeway for a maple bar! Val also has an excellent sense of humor. “Val and I are fairly close to the same age and we both find we have the same complaints about growing older; but we can laugh about it all so hard that we have tears running down our cheeks,” says co-worker Kathy Shirilla , “I love her sense of humor!”

 Beyond her sense of humor, Kathy also recognizes Val’s dedication to her work. “She always works hard and puts in all that extra effort needed to complete the job giving full attention to detail. She respects everyone and is always there to help.”

 Without a doubt, Val recognizes that the work done by CASA is a group effort, and has nothing but encouragement for any potential CASA volunteers, “You DO make a difference. You make it better, even when you think the “system” is slow or sometimes even broken. All you do adds up for the child.”

 However, CASA wouldn’t be the same today without the work of Val Anderson, says Hiatt, “She is really the backbone of our program, and I don’t think she realizes how valuable she is to the advocates and staff she works with.”

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