This month we shine our spotlight on Advocate David Reinwald!
David is a special man who was destined to be a CASA. He was first recruited by his friend who is an educator, but the timing for this volunteer opportunity was not ideal for David. He then was reminded about CASA by his favorite radio station, NPR! A heartfelt shout out to KCRW for the promo. Once summer came that year, David felt it was the perfect time for him to look into signing up for CASA. He says he loved the training and the idea of mentoring outside his clergy/teaching capacity. Three years later, his CASA adventures have led him to be open to many new things, including Pokémon, if necessary, to connect with his CASA youth. Even 2020, the year of the pandemic, could not deter David from his CASA role. CASA OC is grateful for his contributions during these challenging times.
When reflecting on his cases, David likes to tell the story and give credit to his case supervisor for how his first case required a little negotiating because the youth, a 16-year-old boy, did not want to have a CASA. Coached by his case supervisor, David got his CASA youth to agree to go on at least three outings to decide if CASA was not for him. With this opening, David planned three really different outings to show his CASA youth that the program could be a positive thing. After the third outing, David’s case supervisor asked the CASA youth if he wanted to continue with CASA. His response was, “Why wouldn’t I want to continue with CASA!” David reflects on this saying that time and patience are necessary to help youth realize that CASA is a good thing for them. David made the outings as much fun as possible, but he also added life skills building opportunities. Some of the outings included college tours and fairs which were both informative and fun, as well as Pokémon adventures to keep it light and fun.
As far as challenges, David shares that he does not think he has had to encounter huge challenges, except when he needs to be careful not to project his emotions unto the youth such as when he saw his youth move into a temporary shelter. Stay strong for them, is what David recommends to his fellow CASAs.
The number one thing to remember is to stay patient, says David. Give your youth time to experience new things at his own pace and don’t try to teach them everything at once. Take time, and spread activities out. Remember to have fun because everything does not have to be so serious. Listen to your youth and figure out what types of questions to ask, but remember not to ask too many questions. Take it one step at a time and stay patient.
David feels that being a CASA is one of the best volunteer opportunities he has had. His reward is to encourage the potential he sees in the lives of his CASA youth. The little things he and other CASAs do for these kids, even small gestures, can represent a special opportunity and will go a long way toward their growth and confidence. As far as the downside of being a CASA, David says that court report writing can be anxiety inducing for him, especially if there are a lot of professionals to contact. This is why David dedicates time to study his reports and learn what is needed as far as information and style. He admits that he likes to write in a poetic style so he’s learned to adjust a bit! Another difficult aspect of the role is when it’s time to say goodbye, especially if he and the youth really bonded.
People that know David, expect him to talk about CASA all the time and to try to recruit them. It was evident in interviewing David for this article, that he truly believes in the CASA mission to be a powerful voice and a meaningful connection for youth in our community. In closing, David kindly shared how impressed he is with CASA OC because of how smoothly it runs. As a final word, David would like to tell other CASAs to reach out to others to spread the word and recruit more CASAs!
David’s Case Supervisor, Cindy Nydell, has this to say about him: “David has been a great support to 3 different CASA youth. David is great about being very consistent with having outings with his youth and keeping in touch with the caregivers. He also stays involved with the youth’s school to help support any educational needs. I have been very lucky over the last 2.5 years to work with David. His commitment to CASA is great and he always makes me laugh when reading his Optima entries and when talking on the phone. He consistently attends CASA trainings and even recently presented on our CASA panel. He enters all notes in Optima very quickly after his outings. Thank you, David, for being a "constant" in a youth's life.”