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From Theta to CASA: Serving My Local CASA Board

Category: Fraternity

Sheryl Culotta

Zeta Zeta, Colgate

In January 2019, I received an email from the Hartford/Central CT alumnae chapter alerting me that CASA hired an executive director to build a statewide presence in Connecticut and was looking for people to serve on the new organization’s board of directors. I was aware of CASA from my time as a Zeta Zeta Chapter collegian at Colgate University but had never become directly involved. I joined the board and, five years later, I feel deeply grateful to have a strong personal connection to the work of Connecticut CASA, a fantastic organization that is now growing in the state and improving the lives of many children.

Sheryl Culotta, Zeta Zeta/Colgate

One of my favorite days each year is our annual board retreat, which includes a presentation by CASA volunteers who tell us about their experiences. One story that stuck with me was from a volunteer who drives over an hour each way a few times a month to visit the three siblings she supports. When she began her case, none of the children were attending school at all and one child was completely nonverbal with anyone other than his parents. The family had experienced so many social workers and other officials who came into and out of their lives—often making judgments and decisions that didn’t align with their own feelings—that they really did not trust anyone.

After a few months of regular visits, one of the children asked her why she kept coming to see them. She responded that she was there for them: this wasn’t a job, nobody made her visit them, and she came because she wanted to. After that conversation, she felt a change in her relationship with them as they began to develop some trust. Over time, the children started opening up more and more, and the nonverbal child started speaking.

I was deeply touched when she said that, sometimes, when she hears that there are issues getting the children to school, she drives (an hour!) to their house early in the morning to ensure that they get out of bed and get to school on time. Most CASA volunteers can help children without such a Herculean effort, but this story captures how our volunteers often come to care deeply about the children they help. I am thrilled to be able to support an organization that brings such generous and dedicated people together with young children who need some extra care and stability in their lives.

Local Theta chapter and alumnae support has been crucial to the development of Connecticut CASA. I am proud to be a part of that and to help strengthen the connection between the two organizations!

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