2022 CASA of HoCo Advocate of the Year
MEET Gracie R.
"In my role as a CASA, I am able to assist with the decisions that can change a child's life. For me, there is no greater honor than to positively impact another's life and in this capacity (CASA Advocate), I am able to do just that."
HOMETOWN - Johnson City, TN
I am originally from Tennessee and miss the mountains so much! My family moved to Warner Robins, GA in 2003. We moved here for my Dad's work as a General Contractor and have been based here ever since! I moved away for college and came back in 2015 to work with my family's business full time.
I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology. I have always been drawn to the study of how individuals develop and cultures are born. I tried out business oriented majors but always found my way back to Psychology. It has proven to be a degree of use in my field. In all realms of business in application, people are there. Knowing how to interact and read others is key. This has also translated well to my service with CASA!
In my "spare" time, I often find myself seeking out ways to spend time with others. I am a certified extrovert, so being around people energizes me and makes me feel connected. I love to eat new and exciting dishes whether it be at a restaurant or cooking at home. I also thoroughly enjoy reading in a peaceful setting like a cozy couch, warm coffee shop, or sunny beach, but can also be found at a concert on a weeknight. In addition to these, my rescue dog Angus has become my sidekick and favorite little buddy. We do almost everything together and he is the ultimate companion for river dips, nature walks, and road trips.
In the past three years I have served 6 children over the span of two cases. And I'm getting ready to be assigned yet another case.
Q: How did I get started with CASA?
Uplifting others is a core value of mine and in this I have always felt called to a life of service. I learned about CASA through the Robins Regional Chamber when I served as an Ambassador for the Organization alongside Velicia Lowe, Executive Director of CASA. The depth at which a CASA is able to connect with children and parents is unmatched. Knowing that I wanted to support their cause, I signed up for the training and it was the best decision I could have made!
Q: Why do I keep taking cases?
A child's growth is heavily rooted in their home stability. When this foundation is solid, they are able to develop in ways that were previously hindered. In my role as a CASA, I am able to assist with the decisions that can change a child's life. For me, there is no greater honor that to positively impact another's life and in this capacity, I am able to do just that.
Q: What have I learned since becoming a CASA?
On the legal side of being a CASA, I have learned the vocabulary and intricacies of our juvenile court system. Outside of gaining a better understanding of how reporting, removal, case plans, and permanency plans are carried out I have also learned that our parents need community support. I truly believe that the first step to healthier family units is educating them about how to best cater to the mental, emotional, and physical well-being for not only their children, but for themselves. I have learned that preventative measures such as education, accessible clinics, and rehabilitation programs can have an everlasting positive effect on a person's ability to care for their dependents and for themselves. As I've stated earlier, stability in childhood is the foundation for a successful adulthood and with a supportive community, this is possible.