April 2023 Advocate Spotlight: Gregg Edelmann
We invite you to meet Gregg Edelmann, nominated by Case Supervisor Allison Conner.
“Gregg has advocated for four children in the same case for two and a half years,” Allison said. “He has had great success in establishing relationships with children’s therapists, school administrators, and educators. The children had to recently move placements and were separated. Gregg has been instrumental in the transition of these children, helping to bridge the gap between the foster families so that the kids can stay connected.”
We asked Gregg to share his experiences as an Advocate.
Is there anything unique about your background that contributes to your approach to advocacy?
I gained so much satisfaction from a career as a military officer and then as a human resources executive; it was a passion for people and serving their needs that drove my satisfaction.
How did you become interested in volunteering as AN aDVOCATE?
I actually found CASA through an internet search! Many years ago, I was a volunteer mentor for a young child through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program, and I knew that in retirement I wanted to again spend time working with children in need.
Did you have any reservations about volunteering?
The initial CASA training provided a helpful starting point, but like many roles, it can be challenging to know what you don’t know until you get in and roll up your sleeves. I’ve learned so much by listening to others and asking questions of folks who are always very willing to share their knowledge and help.
Explain in your own words the work you do as a CASA aDVOCATE. Why is it important for a child in care?
I am a safe, familiar face that a child needs through a difficult period of transition until they are placed in a permanent home. It really does take a village to support the children, and effective communication with many others is so important to consistently act in the children’s best interests.
What has surprised you most about your aDVOCACY work?
Given the high demands on the time of CPS caseworkers, educators, and health professionals, I have been inspired by their high level of effort and strong partnership. What I have seen demonstrated extends beyond just cooperation to deep caring about the welfare of the children.
What has been the most difficult aspect of being an advocate? Most rewarding?
Understanding child welfare system procedures and the legal framework can be challenging. I think that absorbing that naturally occurs over time and is part of the Advocate learning journey. For me, the most rewarding aspect of advocacy is witnessing growth in a child’s self-confidence and sense of security.
What would you like the community to know about children in care?
Despite difficult past experiences and trauma, children in care can be very resilient and will amaze us if we give them the chance and properly support them. The smallest gesture of caring can be so meaningful to a child in care and an Advocate’s actions can help build a world of hope for them.
What have you learned about children in care?
There are many different types of support resources, benefits, and programs available to children in care. Understanding these resources has helped shift my approach a bit as I think more proactively about how to access the right resources at the right time.
Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
The smallest acts can make a meaningful difference for a child. I recently attended an evening performance of a child’s school play. I can still see the look of joy on the child’s face from knowing that people were there who cared about her and helped celebrate her.