June 2022 Advocate Spotlight: Meredith Wedin
We invite you to meet Meredith Wedin, nominated by Case Supervisor Karen Vegas.
“In her five years with CASA, Meredith has served ten children through her work on seven cases,” Karen said. “She is a kind and gentle spirit who approaches families with the perfect balance of grace and tough love.”
We asked Meredith to share about her experiences as an Advocate.
Is there anything unique about your background that contributes to your approach to advocacy?
I am married with two grown sons whose families have graced us with three beautiful grandchildren. My career in education included twenty years as a school principal and fifteen years as a national consultant. Being a mother and grandmother helps me understand the delights and challenges of raising children. My faith has been my foundation.
How did you become interested in volunteering as a CASA?
When I retired, I was looking for a way to get involved in the community. Every day, I drove home down Highway 105 and saw the billboard with a picture of Laura Bush promoting getting involved with CASA. As a school principal, I had been aware of CASA, especially as they interacted with students in my school. One day it finally clicked that I had found my answer to how I could serve. I have been so blessed ever since I started in 2018.
Did you have any reservations about volunteering?
Before I started, my only reservations were about managing the emotional elements of serving children in challenging situations. I have found that the CASA structure, caring and professional supervisors, and helpful resources provide me with a safety net when I have faced stressful situations in difficult cases.
Explain in your own words the work you do as a CASA. Why is it important for a child in care?
My role is to work toward securing the best interest of the child and to reunite the family whenever possible. It is most important to spend time getting to know the child and the parents as well as understanding the dynamics involved in the case.
What has surprised you most about your work as a CASA?
Working with the children and their families is not just a matter of my mind but a big commitment of my heart. I was surprised how important my opinions were considered by the court.
What has been the most difficult aspect of being a casa? Most rewarding?
It has been trying at times to navigate the dynamics when all the parties did not agree, but my CASA Supervisor was always there for support and guidance. The most rewarding aspects were getting to know the families involved and seeing a child finally settled in a loving and caring home.
What would you like the community to know about children in care?
There are watchful eyes and helping hands carefully monitoring and supporting the children in care from the multiple agencies and legal advocates of which CASA is one. CASA communicates monthly their observations and concerns.
What have you learned about children in care?
I now understand that CPS is only one part of the child welfare system working together with others to support children in care. The system includes CASA, attorneys for the child and parents, fostering agencies, and the active oversight of the courts.
Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
I remember the day in court when a young mother I had been working with broke down in tears hearing that her child was returning to her care. She had worked so hard to complete all her services and had taken advantage of every resource offered to her. It was so clear that her child was her priority.
Anything else you want to share about CASA?
Being a part of CASA has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have made.