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Sat, May 08

One way to spend retirement: Couple spends time advocating for foster children
Ron and Karin Stephan have been CASA volunteers for 18 years trying to give what children deserve – an opportunity in life

Karin and Ron Stephan have been CASA volunteers for 18 years. With CASA they advocate for foster children. (Courtesy)

Karin and Ron Stephan have been CASA volunteers for 18 years. With CASA they advocate for foster children. (Courtesy)

They worked with children before their retirement. Karin was a fifth-grade teacher and Ron was a coach, and after retirement they have continued working with children, but in a different way.

Ron and Karin Stephan have been volunteering with Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children for 18 years. The journey started when they moved to Kingman after they retired.

“When we moved to Kingman we found in a Valle Vista newsletter that CASA volunteers were needed,” Karin said.

CASA Council of Mohave County is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that believes foster children need and deserve opportunities in life. The nonprofit believes foster children deserve the opportunity to play sports, learn music, dance and take swimming lessons. Children should also have the opportunity to get assistance if they fall behind in school and want to go to summer camp.

Funds allow children to have access to equine therapy, sports fees and equipment, computers, tutoring, summer camps, and martial arts classes.

The CASA Council of Mohave County strives to improve the lives of children through advocacy and fulfills their needs by helping locate funds for essentials that help promote self-esteem and lives.

The Stephans answered that advertisement and are the voices for various children. In other words, they advocate for foster children.

The court assigns volunteers a case and they become the voice and face in court for the child, Ron said.

“We find satisfaction from what we can do for the child,” he said. “We are their only true person that stays in the case until the case is concluded.”

Since they are CASA volunteers, they review records, research information and talk to everyone involved in the case, such as social workers, attorneys, judges, teachers, family members and, of course, the children.

The way CASA has impacted the lives of the Stephans is by giving them a lot of appointments to keep, which gives them a busy lifestyle.

“We go to meetings, we are given medical information, physical and mental health, we constantly have appointments to do things,” Karin said. “We are an independent voice for that child, not the parent or organization. We speak for what’s best for the child to the court and judge.”

Since being CASA volunteers for 18 years, their greatest moments are when a child gets adopted.

Ron said it’s a really happy time in a case when a child gets a permanent home where they are welcomed. He added that when children are in CASA, they are almost all orphans, so when someone adopts them it’s truly a wonderful thing.

Those who would like to be a volunteer have to commit to children’s rights, have a sense of social responsibility, possess effective oral and written communication skills, and have the ability to work with people of diverse backgrounds.

For more information about CASA, visit www.casasupport.org.

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