Taylor Moore knows first-hand the affect that abuse can have on children; as a young child, she was abused by her father.
“I had a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) when I was very young,” she said. “I remember my CASA coming to the house to talk to me and it was nice to have someone that I knew was on my side. It was a positive experience that helped keep my family together, keep my mom with me, and help keep my dad away from me.”
Taylor’s CASA helped get her through a scary time, and that’s exactly why she’s paying it forward now as a volunteer facilitator in CASA’s Supervised Exchange & Parenting Time (SEPT) program. By monitoring and documenting observations during court-ordered child-parent visits, Taylor and other SEPT volunteers make it possible for kids to develop relationships with non-custodial parents.
“SEPT is a safe place and I didn’t have a safe place. It was very scary going through the courts knowing I’d have to see someone that wasn’t a good guy. Luckily, SEPT offers those kids an opportunity to have a relationship but in a safe environment.”
Taylor knows that because of the time she is willing to spend in the SEPT visitation rooms, children are able to form memories with their parents that they wouldn’t otherwise form.
“The one (story) that always touches my heart the most was this little girl that came in crying every day for months but she finally said ‘I love you’ to her dad,” Taylor recalls. “He was crying, we were crying… You wouldn’t have expected him to fall apart like that.”
One day, Taylor plans to work with abused or traumatized children as a play therapist.
The 24-year-old has an undergrad degree in Human Services from the University of Kansas and is currently a graduate student in counseling at Adams State University.
Besides volunteering for SEPT, she also works as a family advocate for the Community Partnership for Child Development, volunteers for the Hanger, has taught budgeting and cooking classes to foster teens, and mentors adults and children with intellectual and developmental delays.
“I’m busy but I enjoy giving back and seeing families succeed,” she said.
The next SEPT volunteer training begins in May. Want to join Taylor in helping kids develop relationships with their parents? Click here to learn more about becoming a SEPT volunteer.