This month’s Volunteer Spotlight shines on Liz Davidoff, who completed training in spring 2015 and has served as a volunteer advocate on 2 cases. Both cases involved infant boys.
“For me, volunteering is about both community service and personal enrichment. It has been a way to learn new skill-sets, gain knowledge and make professional and personal connections in my community,” Liz said. “During times when my employment has not been a source of satisfaction or pride, volunteering has provided an opportunity to pursue my passion for helping others.”
Liz’s first case was open for just 4 months; her second lasted for over a year and a half. Liz provided a consistent presence in the life of each child until permanency was achieved. Both of her cases ended in reunification.
Having advocated on behalf of infants, she noted that it is in her relationships with the resource parents and biological parents she feels she made the largest impact. “Knowing that these people trust me and feel that I am a source of support, not an adversary, allows them to reach out to me when they have questions that relate to the wellbeing of the child,” she added.
“Liz is a passionate volunteer who, in one case, helped a single Mom navigate bureaucratic and personal hurdles, which resulted in a successful reunification. While not always possible, reunification is the first choice for the Courts, the Division of Child Permanency and Protection, and CASA” said Jack Fraebel, CASA Case Supervisor.
“There was a long time period where it seemed as though the biological parent would lose custody,” Liz said of the case. “This was truly heartbreaking because I knew that the biological mother really loved the child with all of her heart. Seeing the biological mother work hard to do everything in her power to regain custody, and then to be an excellent parent to the child, was amazing and inspiring. I still feel as though ultimately she taught me more than I taught her.”
Liz’s time and experience as a volunteer advocate was a door into the world of social work, which she has pursued as a career. “While volunteering as a CASA, I became very aware of how macro level social policies trickle down and affect individuals- both in intended and unintended ways. I was able to witness the disconnect between the politicians and lawmakers who create policies and the communities, families, and individuals who these policies effect,” Liz said.
She applied for a graduate fellowship with the Rutgers' Eagleton Institute on Politics and was the only social work student accepted to the 2017-2018 class. Additionally, she will intern as a research assistant at both the Rutgers Center for Violence Against Women and Children and the NJ State Board of Domestic Violence Fatalities and Near Fatalities.
Thank you, Liz, for your unwavering support and emulation of the CASA mission. We wish you all the best for your continued success at Rutgers!