Kris Wilkins – September Volunteer Spotlight

Each month, CASA of Northeast Oklahoma celebrates the advocacy of one of our CASA volunteers. This month, we are highlighting the service of Kris Wilkins. Kris has served as a volunteer advocate a year and a half.

Wilkins is self-employed, running her own medical planning and interior design business. In addition to her business, Wilkins and her husband, Clint, maintain their own cattle business. Wilkins enjoys the flexibility she has with her schedule because it allows her to serve others and volunteer. Her family attends Cowboy Junction Church in Vinita and Wilkins volunteer in the school and helps with VBS.

When it comes to her CASA service, Wilkins is thankful for the support she receives from her Advocate Coordinators. “Often times, I just stop by the office and tell them what is happening in my case,” Wilkins said. “They are so helpful and they’ve seen everything so they know what to do.” The initial CASA volunteer training was great, but as Wilkins says, “it’s nice to be able to rely on the office so much.”

Wilkins finds her rewards in the kids from the cases she serves. “There is so much neglect… My biggest excitement will be when the kids on my case can talk and verbalize their wants and needs. After being deprived, watching them develop and thrive in a nurturing environment is the greatest gift of all.”

Wilkins takes her role seriously. She wants the kids to have confidence in her presence. Many of the people involved in these deprived cases come and go. Wilkins said, “I want them to know I will be the constant presence in their life. They may change foster homes or DHS workers, but I will be there.” That type of consistency is rare for these children, yet it may be the most important aspect of their future success.

Wilkins has a huge heart. One of the biggest challenges in volunteering is trying to focus solely on the child. We all want to help and fix everyone involved. Wilkins does her best to help the entire family while keeping the child first. “It’s challenging yet rewarding. You can have such an impact on a child’s life. You can provide such a wealth of resources to impact the kids and family.”

CASA of Northeast Oklahoma needs more extraordinary volunteers, like Kris Wilkins, who are willing to serve the most vulnerable children in our community. If you have a heart for children and volunteering like Wilkins, do not hesitate to call our office at 918-923-7276. There are new volunteer trainings throughout the year so you can start immediately.

WINGS Supports CASA Kids

A generous group of women from Mound Valley Baptist Church, located on Highway 10 between Miami and Welch, is supplying CASA of Northeast Oklahoma with go bags for children currently being served. The women’s group is called Women Inspired iN God’s Service or WINGS. They meet regularly to work on service projects helping their church and local communities. After recently hearing about the work and cause of CASA, they decided to get involved and help the children who need it most.

The go bags are segmented out into a variety of demographics. There are bags specifically for newborns and toddlers as well as bags for children who are older. Depending on the age the bag is intended for, items include diapers, blankets, clothing items, toothbrushes, deodorant, small toys, and more.

The idea is to give these precious children something that is their own. They are often removed from a home with nothing other than what they are wearing. These bags are a simple way of providing items that children need as well as a few items every kid would want.

Susan Cleveland – A Heart for Serving

Each month, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) celebrates the advocacy of one of our CASA volunteers. This month, we are highlighting the service of Susan Cleveland. Susan has served as a volunteer advocate in Rogers County for two years.

Cleveland works at RCB Bank in Claremore. Previously, she spent thirteen years working with the Youth with a Mission organization in Mexico. “I can’t see myself not serving in some form,” Cleveland said. She backs that up with her involvement. In addition to volunteering with CASA and actively serving at the First United Methodist Church in Claremore, she serves on the board of the Rogers County Literacy Council and has volunteered at The Equality Center in Tulsa.

When it comes to her CASA service, Cleveland says it’s a continuous learning process. “Trying to truly know what our role is as a CASA volunteer, where our boundaries are, and the fact that we are not DHS or family counselors. I have to maintain my focus on advocating for the child and being on their team,” Cleveland said about the challenge of volunteering with CASA. Like many CASA volunteers, she wants to fix everything right now. CASA work, however, is a slow, arduous process.

The process, however, is where Cleveland finds her reward. Cleveland said the best part of serving is “watching the children grow. Overall, the blessing comes from seeing the difference in the children’s lives when they are in a safe, nurturing environment.”

The more enjoyable aspect of volunteering with CASA is the process of volunteers getting to know the children on their cases. Cleveland grinned while talking about visiting the girl on her case. Essentially, Cleveland simply enters into the world of the child, getting on the floor, on their level, and allowing the child to be a child. In doing so, the children have come to trust and rely on Cleveland.

The best part of volunteering according to Cleveland is “seeing the children flourish. Knowing that they are in a loving home is what it is all about. It’s very fulfilling to know you are impacting a child’s life.”

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma needs more extraordinary volunteers, like Susan Cleveland, who are willing to serve the most vulnerable children in our community. Like Cleveland, you could volunteer even while having a full-time job. If you are inspired by their story and want to learn more, do not hesitate to call our office at 918-923-7276. There are new volunteer trainings throughout the year so you can start immediately.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma Continues to be a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency Organization

Great news! Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma just earned the 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. By sharing these metrics, we’re helping the sector move beyond simplistic financial ratios to assess nonprofit progress.

We chose to display quantitative metrics such as Program Goals, Past Results, and Budget to represent how hard Child Advocates is working toward achieving our mission. Organizations and people who support our cause deserve to know their hard-earned dollars are being used in the best possible way. Having the Platinum Seal of Transparency is the best way for our donors to know we are serious about using funds in appropriate ways that further our cause and help children.

We’re proud to use GuideStar Platinum to share our full and complete story with the world. To reach the Platinum level, we added extensive information to our Nonprofit Profile: basic contact and organizational information, in-depth financial information, quantitative information about goals, strategies, and progress toward our mission.