Terri Haag: Mentoring teens about making good choices

Terri Haag is a family-oriented, small business owner. She has plenty on her plate, but couldn’t help the calling she felt to give back to the community around the time her two daughters spread their wings as adults.

“You’re always waiting for the perfect time to do something like this,” she said. “And I don’t know if there is a perfect time. Sometimes you have to just jump in and do it.”

So that’s what she did. She jumped in and what she found was CASA of the Pikes Peak Region.

She began training in late 2016 to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children. Soon after, she was helping a teenage girl, “Mia,” navigate foster care, the court system, and life in general after losing one parent to prison and the other to homelessness.

Describing her as an easy-going and adaptable young lady who makes good grades and has many friends, Terri says she enjoys mentoring Mia and watching her grow.

“We talk about making good choices. We talk about consequences. We talk openly about both of her parents, the situations they are in, why they are in those situations, and how to avoid taking the same path,” Terri explains. “We also talk about what her goals are and how she would attain those goals.”

Terri has taken Mia to visit her parents, supported her through therapy, advocated for her in court, worked to locate family members and placement options, and has completed countless other tasks all in an effort to set the girl up for a happy and fulfilling life. But it’s not just Mia that benefits. Terri says she’s regularly inspired by the child’s resilience.

“I feel like I’m the lucky one because she’s so great…” Terri said. “I think these are the bravest kids to go live in a strange home and to figure out how they’re going to navigate a new school, new friends, and a new family.”

Terri finds a lot of support in her new world of advocacy through CASA staff, as well as the guardian ad litem and caseworker assigned to Mia’s case. She also gains support by attending regular coffee meet-ups with her CASA training class.

Terri is a former dental hygienist. In addition to volunteering in the community, she teams up with a former dental practice colleague to run a billing company for chiropractors and respiratory therapists. She spends any spare time with her husband of 32 years, visiting their parents or their two daughters, and attending Air Force Academy events.

Currently, the Pikes Peak Region needs more people like Terri to step up and advocate for kids that have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. To find out how YOU can help, please click here.