Advocate Spotlight: Ingram Lee
This month, we invite you to meet CASA Advocate, Ingram Lee. Nominated by his CASA Case Supervisor, Oluchi Nwankwo, we want to share with you about Ingram’s work as an Advocate.
“For the Advocate Spotlight, I nominate Ingram Lee. Ingram has a great sense of humor that nurtures repeatable working relationships in situations that are often very dismal. As Ingram continues to leverage at least 3 to 4 cases, he remains vigilant and accurate in his approach to advocacy on all his cases.
“In addition to advocacy, Ingram is a father and husband and served previously in the legal system as an attorney. It is with all his expertise that he is able to enthusiastically bestow empathy, support, wisdom, knowledge, and mentorship to the adolescents on all his cases.”
~Oluchi Nwankwo, Case Supervisor
In addition, Ingram was also selected as one of the 2020 Advocates of the Year, and in her nomination letter, his previous supervisor, Susan Truscott, wrote the following about him:
“Ingram stands out as a great male role model for the children he advocates for, some of whom didn’t have a male role model in their lives before meeting Ingram. He has also been known to get his hands dirty and to help a child fix their roller blades, which is another sign of his dedication to CASA and the children we serve!
“It is this flexibility of style and ability to adapt to the needs of others that give Ingram the qualities of a great Advocate. We are grateful to have him at CASA!”
To read more about Ingram and his full Advocate of the Year nomination letter, CLICK HERE!
From Ingram Lee:
My mother was a juvenile probation officer in Dallas, Texas. I grew up going on home visits and sitting in the courtroom waiting for her to testify. Confidentiality was a bit different back then.
After I completed law school, I was appointed to represent either the child or the parents. Of course, I had to advocate for the parent’s position even though it might conflict with what was best for the child. I knew that after I retired, I wanted to work with juveniles.
I first learned about CASA from radio ads and billboards. After attending a morning coffee session, I realized that CASA would be the best vehicle to give the most help to children. As a CASA, I advocate for the best interests of the child rather than representing a particular point of view for the party. CASA meets with all who are involved with the child, including parents, teachers, physicians, caseworkers, and attorneys.
I was worried that when I went to see the child on my first case, I would have trouble bonding with the child. It turned out that the bond came fast. As the case progressed, I could see how our training really did prepare us to work on the case. Supervisors have always been available to answer questions, give advice, and come up with ways to handle novel situations.
The best part of CASA is getting to know the child and their problems. As the child gets to know you and trust you, the child will open up about their dreams and hopes for their future. Nothing warms your heart more than when a child asks, “When are you coming back?”
My favorite memory involves a teenager and his younger sister who were neglected by their parents. The teenager did everything for his little sister. We located a forever home through a family member. At first, the family member did not want to take the children in except for a short time. As I worked with the children and the family, the family member’s attitude changed to where the family member adopted both children. I’ll never forget after the Court granted the adoption, the children hugged me and the boy said, “Now I can start being a teenager.” The teenager is now attending college, and his little sister is doing well at school.
The least favorable part of CASA for me is writing court reports. As a child, I recall that my mother, who supervised juvenile probation officers, would have them all come over to the house to do their court reports. Oh, the complaining that I heard from them.
I did not realize how much childhood trauma impacts a child over time. I did not know that trauma had a long-term impact on the health of a child well into adulthood. I learned to support family reunification, if possible, and the importance of finding a forever home as quickly as possible.
I tell new Advocates that CASA is an incredible way to directly help a child go through an incredibly terrifying sea of uncertainty. You will be a constant in the child’s life for the next year, and you, as [their] CASA will help the child every step of the way. You will make a positive difference in the child’s life. At times, you will be frustrated, but never give up. See if your spouse would like to be a CASA Helping Heart. Children love the extra attention.
— Ingram Lee, CASA Advocate
- Retired from over 35 years of practicing law in the oil and gas industry.
- My wife, Claudia, is a CASA Helping Heart.
- Two children and one slightly spoiled Australian Shepard.
EVERY CHILD DESERVES A CHANCE…IT’S YOU!
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