Frear Simons trained to be a lawyer, and although she still maintains her senior status license, she never practiced law because she loved writing and researching far too much. She knows all too well though that if you were to observe court proceedings for an entire morning, you might start wondering what you could do to help the children involved in the cases. For Frear, the answer is CASA.
What led you to become a CASA advocate?
I worked for many years at LexisNexis, formerly Shepard’s/McGraw-Hill, and I was honored to be involved in the committee that awarded grants to local charities. CASA caught my eye immediately, and I attended some wonderful programs and we gave what we could. I always meant to get CASA training when I retired, but when I was 70 I realized I had to act, as I didn’t actually retire until I was 73. I went ahead and got my application in, was so thrilled to be accepted, and started off. It was hard for those three years when I was still working, but worth it. I have been a CASA for five years now, a peer coordinator for about three.
Tell us about a case you have worked on.
The case that has stuck with me most involved nice parents who had become caught up in substance abuse and could not take care of their children. You could tell from the children’s good manners and work ethic that they had been raised well until things got bad, but they did. At one point the children were living in three different places, but their parents worked hard on their treatment plan and different solutions worked for different children. The youngest was very happy to be home, a middle child found a good situation with a relative, and the eldest was nearly of age and found that a guardianship arrangement with the foster family was for the best. The parents were mature enough to accept this, and I hope this has improved the odds of everyone staying in touch as the years go by. Having a single CASA volunteer keeping track of all these people with different needs was a huge help to the case.
What unique life experience or skillsets do you bring to your CASA cases?
My husband and I only had two kids, but we spent their childhoods caring for many of their friends as well, with some of them moving in during times of crisis.
Frear and her husband are parents to grown children who have become English teachers. The CASA volunteer is also a reader of mysteries and serious fiction, and a volunteer with a local thrift shop that has served Colorado Springs for more than six decades. If you too have the volunteer spirit and want to use it to serve children, check out CASA’s volunteer opportunities here.