CASA Spotlight - Shelly Faulstick

Shelly Faulstick

When Shelly Faulstick’s children were young, she’d take them to CASA’s Pumpkins & Pancakes fundraiser at South Coast Plaza. This was her first introduction to CASA. She looked up the organization and decided that when her daughters were older and she had more time, she would volunteer with CASA – and that’s exactly what she did.

Shelly grew up in Costa Mesa, California and raised her two daughters there. She married her high school sweetheart, who she has been with for 34 years, and has been a licensed daycare provider for 23 years.

Shelly started training with CASA during the pandemic which meant all sessions were online. This worked well for her schedule since she was working 50 hours a week. Shelly said that the training took her early childhood education classes in college. “The training taught me a lot about the foster care system and about trauma in youth. Continuing education is great because you never know what background your youth will have so every training is helpful.” Shelly remarked that she enjoyed learning from veteran CASAs and shared the value of case supervisors, “I’m lucky to have had two great case supervisors.”

When Shelly first met her youth, she was fifteen. On their second outing they walked through a nearby park for two hours. When recounting the outing, Shelly said, “Walking side by side helped her to open up and tell me her story. I was honored that she shared so much with me.” 

Since that initial visit, the two have spent a great deal of time together. Shelly says that her favorite thing about being a CASA is getting to see her youth truly laugh. “Because some kids in foster care take on the role of parent, to see them in a happy, child-like state is the best feeling. Everyone deserves a childhood.” Shelly added, “The hardest part is leaving her after a visit and not being able to do more for her.” 

Shelly shared how CASA has impacted her life,  “When the pandemic started, life got uncertain. Political tension was at an all time high and the world felt out of control. I knew it was time to be a CASA and focus my attention on something that I could do to actually help someone. Once I met my youth, the pandemic and politics fell to the side. They were not my focus anymore. One child at a time, one day at a time.”

When asked what her advice would be to future CASAs, Shelly said, “The best advice I got was to not be afraid of silence. Give them a few minutes to decompress when they get into your car. Let them vent. Your youth is more likely to open up when doing an activity side by side like hiking, walking or playing ball. They are less likely to open up while staring directly at you across a quiet table.”

Karyn Quick, Shelly’s case supervisor said, “Shelly has been a wonderful advocate for her teenage girl for almost two years. They have a great relationship and her youth is happy to have an advocate in her corner. Shelly has advocated in all areas for her girl, especially education. It's been a blessing to supervise Shelly.”

Shelly truly embodies CASA’s value of being child-focused. She has been intentional when it comes to listening to her youth and allowing her space to express herself. She has made a huge impact on the life of a child and continues to do so.

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