Helen and Jeff Stemmer
A few years ago, Jeff and Helen Stemmer of Sallisaw had no idea they would be volunteering as child advocates.
But an episode of “Dr. Phil” piqued their interests about the opportunity to volunteer for CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Married for 31 years and being small business owners, the Stemmers felt like they should wait until their youngest daughter was out of school; but they felt God’s call.
"It felt as though God was telling us not to wait," said Helen, "and so we signed up together to begin the very next CASA training."
The couple completed training in October 2015 and each received their first case. Since that time, the Stemmers have served on a total of eight cases acting as the voices for children in need.
“Being a CASA volunteer is very rewarding, to know that we have touched children's lives and helped them out of bad and/or dangerous situations,” said Jeff. “Knowing you had a part in seeing them placed in a permanent safe and healthy environment, is a wonderful feeling.”
They both were surprised by the number of children in need of help, and the children with whom they have been involved have certainly impacted their lives.
“We are grateful to have been able to help the children we have served,” Helen said. “To see their smiles when they see us, this brightens our lives and makes what we do worth it.”
They say the most rewarding aspect of being a CASA volunteer is seeing positive results in the lives of the children and being able to continue the relationship with the children after the cases are closed.
CASA is looking for more volunteers, who, like the Stemmers, could be the change for a child in need.
“Lead with your heart and never give up,” Helen said as advice to prospective volunteers. “Don't ever think you are not making a difference, because you are, and these children need you.”
For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer, call the Sequoyah County office at (918) 686-8199 or visit www.casaok.org for an online application.
Pam Cloud, Managing News Director
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