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Alumnae Blog

Posted On: Monday, April 20, 2015 08:20 AM, by Shelley Sandoval
Shelley Sandoval
Supporting CASA through Psi Chapter fundraisers at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and post-college through the Chicago North Shore Alumnae Chapter, I decided to get more involved and become a court-appointed special advocate. I was nervous and excited as I raised my right hand to be sworn in as an advocate for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Child Protection Division.

Connecting with my kids, learning about their world, building mutual trust, and working to understand each other sometimes led us to sing Katy Perry's "Firework" song at the top of our lungs, or have heart-to-heart talks about the serious issues that brought us together through CASA. Building relationships with those who I now affectionately refer to as "my kids" has proven to be one of the most fulfilling and important parts of my career.

Partially fueled by my CASA experience and interest in the law, I chose to enroll in law school. While I don't plan on a career in family law, I do plan on being a lifelong CASA volunteer, and I am always proud to explain my Theta roots as my inspiration for being part of this opportunity.

The influence of my CASA work enriches and ignites my perspective as a law student. In my first week at law school, a professor posed this question to my class: "What are the characteristics of a good lawyer?" Often returning to this question throughout my first year, I find myself vested in finding the answer as I continually engage with questions of personal character and development.

Assessing my initial top four characteristics—dedicated, pragmatic, reflective and analytical—I realized this was only half of what it really takes to be a good lawyer. "Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love." The familiar words we as Thetas recite and the concepts they enliven are truly what moved me to extend my CASA involvement past my undergraduate years, and serve as the foundation that fosters the bond I have with my CASA kids.

I am not only proud to be a Theta alumna and CASA advocate, but I am humbled by the opportunity to serve these communities of vibrant inspiring individuals who embolden me to uphold these characteristics in my personal and professional life.

Shelley Sandoval, Psi/Wisconsin, is a law student at Northern Illinois University College of Law and a member of the Chicago North Shore Alumnae Chapter.

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