Alma’s Volunteer Corner: 3, 2, 1, Contact!

July16The other night my phone rang at 7:30 p.m. I assumed it was my sister or my dad calling to say hi and ask about my day.

I did not expect to hear the voice of my CASA kid on the other line.

At first I was worried. In the three months that I’ve been working with her, she had never reached out to me before tonight. We had a visit scheduled for the following morning so I automatically assumed that something bad happened. (Jumping to conclusions is not unique to my CASA kid’s situation – I am a bit of a worry wart.)

But she was fine. She said she wanted to check-in with me and be better at keeping in touch with her team. She also had a few questions she was hoping I could answer. I told her I would do my best and if I didn’t have an answer, I would check in with her caseworker for support.

I was not sure if I would be able to connect with a teenager. My strategy was to let her know my role, give her my contact information and position myself as a member of her team. She has a good relationship with her caseworker, who is amazing with teenagers, and I didn’t want to interrupt her current support network. During our visits, I did my best to be a good listener and give time to let her get to know and trust me.

We chatted on the phone for about 10 minutes. Considering she was a teenager, I felt like 10 minutes was a big accomplishment for both of us – she got her questions answered and after three months, two visits and one phone call, I finally made contact with my kiddo.