Every month CASA volunteer's receive a newsletter with resources, upcoming events and more. One of the most popular sections of the newsletter is titled "CASAs on the Go" written by Colin Kingston, a dedicated volunteer who has been serving through CASA since the mid '90s. He continues to volunteer even though he's no longer a CASA on a traditional case and we are so thankful for the impact he's making from states away! Thank you Colin!
-Where do you live and what is your profession?
Last year I joined AmeriCorps and moved to Manhattan, Kansas. AmeriCorps is the cousin to the Peace Corps. Whereas the Peace Corps helps people outside of the United States, AmeriCorps helps people inside the United States.
I am serving as a Grant Writer for The SAVE Farm (Service Agricultural Vocation Education). We are a non-profit that helps veterans, transitioning service members and members of the general public transition into careers in agribusiness. Ironically, I first became interested in grant writing when I helped CASA’s grant writer Kristen Stephen secure $250,000 in grants for CASA from Yahoo.
-What do you do in your free time?
I am a history buff and spend many weekends exploring historical places. I’m also a big college sports fan and attend games at Kansas State University. The rest of my free time is spent reading, and volunteering at community events.
-Please describe your experience with CASA:
I have been involved with CASA since 1996 and was an active CASA for 12 years. During that time, I advocated for seven different CASA kids ages ten to 17. I became an Educational Surrogate to have a stronger voice in IEP meetings. I was privileged to work with CASA’s CEO Reagan Phillips on a case before she became CEO.
Over the years, I have spoken at CASA training classes, staffed CASA booths at community events, and served as CASA’s newsletter editor. I am happy that I was able to continue writing the CASA’s on the Go column when I moved to Kansas.
-Are you in touch with any of the youth you advocated for?
I did stayed in touch with a few CASA kids for a while when my term ended but I am not in touch with any of them now. I always left that decision up to them. By now they are all grown up and have their own lives. I often think of them and wonder how they are doing.
-Do you have any advice or a favorite moment from when you were a CASA in OC?
Being a CASA can be tough at times. My advice would be to hang in there and never give up. I found that it was often the little things that I did that meant the most to my CASA kids. This included things like playing catch, or chess with them, or letting them pick where we went to eat.
I found that earning their trust was the biggest key to my being able to help them. Once I did that, they would open up to me. They also listened to my advice. They didn’t always follow it, but they would at least consider it because of that trust.
Thank you Colin for your 23 years of service to the CASA agency and youth in Orange County!