Angie Switzer is a survivor of domestic violence; she has an intimate understanding of the impact it has on victims and the importance of breaking the cycle of violence. Compelled to help others who are in a similar situation, Angie searched for volunteer opportunities, and in 2011 she became a facilitator in CASA’s Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time (SEPT) Program.
The SEPT Program provides an environment that supports individual safety, accountability and healthy relationships between children and their parents in conflictive custody or domestic violence cases. It is a service that protects children from witnessing parental disputes and keeps them out of the middle of the conflict. Trained volunteers (or facilitators) oversee the transfer of children from one parent to another and supervise visits between children and parents.
Angie says she feels good knowing that she has a positive impact on children and families by facilitating safe visits that may not happen otherwise. “We help families maintain healthy relationships even though they’re going through hardship,” she said. Unless special circumstances exist, children generally fare best when they have the emotional support and ongoing involvement of both parents. The SEPT is a family-focused service that provides a safe place for parents and children to build positive relationships.
Angie’s consistency, passion, and thorough knowledge of the program propelled her into the leadership role of SEPT Captain. As a captain, Angie is in charge of visitation sessions, supporting the volunteer facilitators, enforcing program rules/guidelines, and ensuring everyone’s safety. Although she is a quiet, petite young woman, Angie is fearless in her role as a SEPT Captain. She is never afraid to stand up to an unruly parent or intervene to protect a child or fellow volunteer. Angie says instances like that a rare and mostly she gets to enjoy positive interactions between family members. “My favorite part of this role is seeing a family reunited, they are always laughing and hugging, so excited to see each other again,” she says.