GreenLeaves

Volunteer Spotlight - August 2017

Meet CASA Jane Yarnell of Westfield

When I feel like all the odds are against us,
I see his face and immediately refocus.'

For Jane Yarnell, being an advocate is not only a source of joy in her life, but a true sense of purpose and ability to make change.

The Staten Island native raised her family in Westfield and is now a grandmother to six wonderful children. She loves to cook, and that’s a good thing — as she and her husband consider themselves foodies.

Jane believes that as a CASA volunteer, patience is key. She has been on the same case for 1,001 days, having met her CASA youth when he was just 5 years old. Soon, that little boy will celebrate his 9th birthday.

She notes, “My decision to become involved in a program such as CASA came from the joy of seeing the difference one person can make in a child’s life with just your unconditional love, your time and your steadfast desire to make a difference. I see helping children, despite their circumstances, as a pathway to a better and brighter future.”

The role of a CASA volunteer can take its toll, but Jane never loses sight of her mission and purpose, which is a better life for her CASA child: “His sweet smile and captivating personality are always there, and when I feel like all the odds are against us, I see his face and immediately refocus my goal as his advocate: making a difference in his life.”

Jane considers CASA volunteers to be “difference makers,” helping children set higher goals, restoring lost trust, providing a voice and finding a way even when the path seems unattainable and the challenge insurmountable.

She explains, “For most of these children, their first experience with life and the adults in their lives has been disappointment and insecurity. The CASA program gives us the unprecedented ability to step in wherever there is a need as we attempt to give our children all they need to have the life they deserve. This is what drives me the most.”

When faced with adversity in her own life and the lives of others, Jane looks to the reassuring words of C.S. Lewis to keep her grounded: “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”


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