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Colleen Rusch: Honoring a special girl through service to others

Colleen Rusch is focused on living a meaningful life, and on teaching her sons to do the same by giving back to the community.

It was last year that she first trained to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). After losing their ten-year-old daughter Rose to heart disease, Colleen, her husband, and their two sons moved from New Jersey to Colorado to start a new chapter.

“Losing a child is the most devastating thing a parent can endure.  I miss Rose more than anyone can understand,” Colleen said. “I search for purpose and meaning and try to make her proud by living a life that I know she would have lived if she was still with us.”

Colleen says that Rose was a true cheerleader of life and had the tremendous ability to touch each person that she came in contact with.

In searching for a way to give back to the world and continue honoring her daughter’s amazing spirit, Colleen found CASA. The former Wall Street Executive is now working her first case, and is reminded each and every day of the impact she is having on these two young children who had to be removed from their parents.

Colleen’s job as a CASA is to act as the “eyes and ears” of the court, and to gain an understanding of what is going on in the lives of the children she serves.

“I have provided much needed support to the caseworker, guardian ad litem, and foster parents to make sure these kiddos’ needs are being met,” Colleen explained.

Through her experience with CASA, Colleen says that she and her husband are training to become licensed foster parents.

“We hope that providing love and support to children who have been neglected and abused will help provide them with the ability to thrive,” she said. “We truly believe in biological reunification and if we can be part of the journey to make that happen we are honored to help and serve these children.”

The Rusch’s have lived in Colorado now since 2015, and in addition to volunteering for CASA, Colleen runs the Rose Annmarie Rusch Foundation which helps those who are less fortunate and also provides educational scholarships for students who give back to the community.

The foundation recently sponsored CASA’s Supervised Exchange & Parenting Time program by providing all the furniture, televisions, games, and toys for the new Family Visitation Center at CASA’s office.  The gift created a warm and family-like environment for children to visit with their non-custodial parents. Read more about what the Rose Annmarie Rusch Foundation does here.

If you’d like to find out how YOU can get involved with CASA like Colleen, please click here.

Return to the 30 Stories in 30 Days webpage.