October’s Family Focus
This month, we are focusing on grandparents and their tremendous impact on the whole family, especially children. Many of us were blessed with outstanding grandparents as we grew up. There are so many fond memories and life lessons that we will never forget. However, there are many children who don’t have the benefit of positive family members in their life. That’s where CASA comes in. We have the opportunity to impact these kids and provide that quality role model for them while speaking up for their best interest. We hope that remembering your grandparents will inspire you to want to do more for children who may not have any in their life. As always, you can support us in a number of ways. One of the simplest ways is to connect with us on Facebook. Use this LINK and make sure to like and follow us.
Let the memories of our grandparents inspire us.
“Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories, and love.” – Author Unknown
There are few relationships that are as purely joyful as the grandparent-grandchild relationship.
Recently, I was standing in Wal-Mart catching up with a good friend I’d not seen in a while. She glanced at her watch and said, “Ooohh…I’ve got to run. My little grandson gets off the bus in an hour and I get to pick him up.” The gleam in her eye warmed my heart and made me think of my grandparents. I was fortunate to have two sets of wonderful grandparents.
My Poppy was a tinkerer. There was nothing he could not fix. He and my Gram lived at the lake in a cabin surrounded by woods. He knew how curious kids could be about the woods, so he told us “Bloody Sam” lived there. I had no idea who Bloody Sam was or how he got his name, but he didn’t sound like anyone I’d want to meet, which was just what Pop was counting on. When I got my first car, he’d be waiting for me in the driveway and he’d clean out my air filter, change my oil, and check my tire pressure.
My Gram was one of the best cooks in Osage County. She had a copper canister of bacon drippings on her stove and virtually every recipe began with a spoonful of bacon grease in a cast iron skillet. She also loved to play cards, especially Jubal, which is like 21. She’d make us ante up with a dime and after she’d won everything we had, she’d scrape her winnings into a jar. She had the best laugh and the best stories. I knew half of them weren’t true. She taught me that when you go “into town,” you clean up and put on your lipstick. Fresh breath was important to her. She always had a roll of Certs in her purse.
My Grandma was an equally excellent cook and a fabulous gardener. She grew iris bulbs for a mail order company and would report back with her notes and photographs for her growing zone. Her backyard smelled like heaven in the spring. I’d lay on the patio with my nose up next to the hyacinths for hours. She was full of energy, loved long walks, and knew everything there was to know (or so I thought). As I grew older, she became one of my dearest friends. We’d have adult sleepovers which always included a luxurious nap before dinner.
My Grandfather and I had a very special relationship because I was the first girl grandchild. He spent lots of time with me. He was a vegetable gardener and taught me how to shuck corn, shell black-eyed peas, and grow asparagus. Asparagus is a commitment, I learned. He and my Grandma were Methodists and they took me to church on Sundays. I would spend the night at their house on Saturday, sleeping on the couch in the living room, which Grandma had made up into a bed with sheets she’d laundered and dried in the sun. Those sheets smelled like sunshine. All night long, I’d hear the Westminster Chimes from the grandfather clock and know that I was surrounded by love.
Here’s what I’ve learned about being a grandparent:
- Grandparents are not glorified babysitters. They’re your child’s best friends. They want to spend quality time with their grandchildren and share their wisdom.
- Grandparents are extraordinarily patient. They take the time to listen and understand. In many ways, they’re better to talk to about life’s problems than your own parents because they’ve learned that most things that happen in life aren’t the end of the world.
- They teach life lessons. Pop would take his granddaughters to his local polling place. He told us he’d fought in World War II for our right to vote and that it was our civic duty to do so. I’ve never forgotten that.
- Grandparents take time for board games, cards, and dominoes. In spending quality time with their grandchildren, they teach them how to play fair, how to take turns, and how to be a gracious loser (and winner).
- Grandparents can do things parents aren’t able to. My Dad would freak out while driving with me after I got my learner’s permit. Thank goodness his father was much more patient. Grandpa would drive to my school after it let out and allow me to drive him around in his car. He was the most patient man I’ve ever known.
- Grandparents leave a legacy of faith, stories, and knowledge to their grandchildren. I’ll never forget how my grandparents taught me simple life lessons that have stood the test of time. Best of all, because of them, I know who I am and where I came from.
I hope I’m lucky enough to be a grandmother one of these days. Who knows – maybe Bloody Sam will resurface after all of these years!
Goalcast Lifestory – John O’Leary
John O’Leary is featured in this Lifestory video produced by Goalcast. O’Leary’s story is one of overcoming insurmountable odds. He shares how a legendary sports broadcaster, Jack Buck, inspired him to beat the odds and then become successful. He says Jack Buck changed his life in “8-second increments” simply by meeting him where he was.
Our work as child advocates is exactly the same. You may not have the clout of Jack Buck, but you do have the ability to meet children where they are, in the most difficult of situations, and inspire them to live a better life. You can empower them by being their voice in the courtroom. You can make a lasting difference that will propel them to a healthy, happy life.
As supporters of CASA, you have the opportunity to inspire the uninspired. You can be the one to make a lifelong impact. Will you step up and meet these children where they are?
CASA Volunteers Serving Quapaw Tribe
Quapaw Chairman John Berrey and Melinda Stotts, Vice President of the CASA Board of Directors
In September 2017, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma/CASA made a formal agreement with the Quapaw Tribe to provide Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children under their tribal jurisdiction. CASA staff and volunteers are excited about expanding their services to the Quapaw children.
A tribal judge will assign CASA volunteers to cases of child abuse and neglect within the tribal court system. Once assigned to a case, the CASA volunteers have the power to observe the child’s situation, report to the court, make recommendations and ask for changes that are in the best interest of the child. That child will have a “new voice” in the courtroom and a better chance for finding a safe, loving forever home.
Jon D. Douthitt, District Court Judge for the Quapaw Tribal Court, was instrumental in getting this agreement formalized. Judge Douthitt is delighted to see it come to fruition. He stated, “Children can be lost in the shuffle during legal proceedings that will profoundly affect them. CASA works to make sure that these children’s interests are protected and that the impact of the court proceedings on them is reduced to the extent possible.”
In the 1800’s, the Quapaw Tribe, like so many other tribes, was relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma Territory. Most of the Quapaw people still live in the state today. The Tribe’s headquarters, which is located in Quapaw, OK, lies within the 13th Judicial District which CANO currently is serving. This expansion into the Quapaw Tribal Court is a “win-win” for all involved.
“This is an important step in assuring all Tribal members’ children and other citizens’ children are safe and well cared for in our communities. This goes to the heart of our values, as family-oriented people. So, we are honored to be part of the CASA system,” said Quapaw Chairman John Berrey.
CASA Board President Susan Young added, “The board members of Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma are very happy to have the opportunity to provide CASA services to the Quapaw tribe. We look forward to working with Judge Douthitt, Chairman Berrey, and the Quapaw Tribal Courts to assure the safety and security of all the tribe’s children.”
2018 CASA Newsletters
Want more news about what’s going on at Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma? Use the following links to access our newsletters for 2018.
2017 CASA Newsletters
Use the following links to access our newsletters for 2017.