Each month, CASA of Northeast Oklahoma celebrates the advocacy of one of our CASA volunteers. This month, we are highlighting the service of Lisa Stiles. Stiles has served in Rogers County as a volunteer advocate for two years.
Stiles is committed to serving in many roles within her community. In addition to teaching fitness classes, she works with the Rogers County Election Board, volunteers as an usher for the Performance Arts Center in Tulsa, and volunteers in multiple ministries at Bible Church of Owasso. Stiles’ demanding schedule is further filled with her tireless work with CASA.
In the last two years, Stiles has contributed significantly to two successful cases and is working on a third. The results of the first two cases have been the highlights of her service so far. “The best part of volunteering so far was seeing a little girl being adopted by a family who loves her so much,” said Stiles. A close second was a case that ended with a successful reunification. Stiles witnessed a mother who was dedicated to bettering herself so that she could be reunified with her child.
While Stiles does not take credit for her service on these cases, her impact as a CASA volunteer cannot be understated. It is the CASAs duty to speak for the best interest of the child and Stiles has faithfully done that again and again.
Stiles is passionate about serving the kids who are caught in the system at no fault of their own. Even with all her experience and dedication, she is thankful for the staff who come alongside her, supporting her both inside and outside the courtroom. Stiles said, “Talking with the CASA staff is invaluable. They have such great experience and perspective. They are behind me 100 percent in the courtroom when I make a recommendation.”
Stiles lights up when talking about the children involved in the cases she has served. She enjoys connecting with them through crafts, like making slime. She also does activity sheets and educational activities as well as taking an occasional trip to the playground with them. These activities and consistent visits are crucial for the child as it may be the only consistently positive interaction they have in their life.
There are struggles that come with serving as a CASA volunteer. Stiles laments the slow pace of the justice system. There are times when it seems apparent to everyone involved in the case as to what needs to happen for the best interest of the child, and yet that course of action may be months down the road. Once again, this highlights the importance of a consistent advocate speaking in court for the child’s best interest, a role Stiles is dedicated to.
To anyone considering becoming a CASA, Stiles has some great advice. “It will fill your heart and mind and keep you up at night. I am very aware of the recommendations I make to a judge, knowing that they can be life-altering for the children and the parents involved in the case.” Even with the weight of the decisions being made, it is well worth it. Stiles is the model example of the impact CASA has on a case.
CASA of Northeast Oklahoma needs more extraordinary volunteers, like Lisa Stiles, who are willing to serve the most vulnerable children in our community. If you have a heart for children and volunteering like Stiles, do not hesitate to call our office at 918-923-7276. There are new volunteer trainings throughout the year so you can start immediately.
By Brandon Fletcher, Marketing and Resource Development Coordinator – CASA Northeast Oklahoma