Brian Segal: Helping child-parent relationships blossom

Brian Segal is a volunteer facilitator with CASA’s Supervised Exchange & Parenting Time (SEPT) Program, which makes it possible for parents to bond with their children when they’ve received a court order for supervised visits.

Brian knows that whether he’s helping a parent reap the rewards of “graduating” from the program, or keeping a child safe by reporting inappropriate behavior, the work he does makes a difference for children and families in Colorado Springs. And he knows the notes that he takes during the visits are valued by the judge.

“I get a feeling of satisfaction knowing that these kids would not see their parents if it wasn’t for the people like us who are volunteering,” he said. “So we’re giving them that opportunity. I enjoy watching the interaction.”

Brian first got involved with CASA with his wife, both as volunteers in the Life Long Links program when they heard about the need from their daughter who is a clinical social worker. The retired phone company manager began looking for other ways to support child victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence – and it was SEPT that really spoke to him.

Sworn in by the Fourth Judicial District in the spring of 2016, Brian has been facilitating parent-child visits for two years, mostly on Tuesdays.

An added bonus of this work, Brian says, is that since he usually volunteers at the same time each week, he can facilitate for the same families and enjoys watching the parent-child relationships blossom.

He recalled one family that involved a little girl who hadn’t seen her dad in six months, and when it came time for the visit she was wary and shy.

“As soon as she saw him though, she ran smiling and laughing…  It is most satisfying to see a kid who initially is very shy and not sure what to do become warmer and more open over time.”

To Brian, it’s not just about the kids though. It’s about the parents too. “It’s made me more open-minded,” he said. “You have to be a non-judgmental person and you have to know when to intervene and when not to.”

What else is needed to be a SEPT facilitator? According to Brian you need to like people and kids, and have the ability to be assertive when necessary.

As a father of two daughters, and a grandfather of four, Brian knows how important it is to be with his children. He and his wife moved to Colorado in 2015 to do just that. In addition to helping other families have time together, Brian enjoys spending his retirement with his daughters and grandkids, playing poker, or reading science fiction and biographies.

Click here to find out how YOU can volunteer in as a SEPT facilitator.

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