Paul Lemon knows that when you make a commitment… you keep that commitment. For five years now, Paul has proved his commitment to the families that use CASA’s Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time Program.
As a SEPT Volunteer Facilitator, Paul makes it possible for children to bond with their parents when there is a court order in place for supervised visits.
“This is a service for those who need a safe place to see their children and what I do, along with other volunteers and staff, is provide for this to happen. What is done is a meaningful expense of time and it’s productive.”
Paul has seen many examples of this productivity he speaks of, including one particular family that stands out to him. While supervising visits for a mother who was a victim of domestic violence, Paul learned that her four-year-old son had unfortunately picked up some of his father’s abusive habits.
“He would kick his mother and scream at her and we ended up having to break it up,” Paul recalls. “We introduced time out. She had no concept of it and it made her nervous. It was hard on her to discipline her child but every time he’d start to kick, we’d put him in time out and gradually his temperament came down and their visits got longer and longer.”
Paul observed week after week as the mother became comfortable with the new form of discipline, studying her homework as her son was in timeout. The mother eventually became employed in the medical field and was able to graduate from the SEPT program with joint custody of her son.
“I was involved in that success,” Paul said. “Seeing a family situation come to fruition where she’s having good visits with her son and the court is saying yes, she can have custody of her son.”
In addition to CASA’s SEPT program, Paul is finding many ways to give back during retirement. He regularly helps out with odd jobs for a neighbor whose husband recently passed, and is active with First Presbyterian Church as a Communion Team member. When he’s not serving his community, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, and doing yard work.
“He is also our CONSTANT handyman,” says SEPT Volunteer Coordinator Jonathan Plaisted. “He is always doing things for us like taking things home and bringing them back all fixed up. He hung our new paintings in the site… He’s great!”