This month’s volunteer spotlight shines on Lenor Johnson. To date, Lenor has served as an advocate for a total of 6 cases involving 8 children.
“One of the things I was first taught by my parents was that it was better to give than to receive,” Lenor said, “as my career as a teacher progressed I began to understand that early lesson; nothing was more rewarding than to see kids grow and thrive.”
Lenor’s first case opened in January 2010, and concerned a 2-year-old girl. The toddler was living in a wonderful resource home, and the plan was termination of her biological mother’s parental rights so as to clear the path for adoption. The girl had been living with the resource family for nearly a year when her biological father, previously unidentified, came forward to claim his daughter.
“The father’s history and life circumstances at that time made him a problematic choice as caregiver,” Lenor said, “but with the help of a cooperative Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) Case Worker we were able to help the birth father work through visitation, home inspections, background checks, and all factors needed to approve his home and life to accept the child.”
In the end, the child’s biological father decided it would be best for his daughter to be adopted by her loving resource home; he voluntarily gave up his parental rights.
“The resource home added (the child) with joy to their family, which had 2 biological children at the time. I still get Christmas cards with photos from them each year,” Lenor said.
Each of Lenor’s cases have brought their own unique challenges. “My work with CASA has caused me to slow down and look at things from more perspectives than I previously knew existed,” she said. “I have found that problems are solved not by premature judgements, but rather through patience and flexibility.”
Certainly, no two CASA cases are ever identical. Lenor commented that her favorite part is her inclusion in Family Team Meetings, as she feels she is a trusted and needed source of advocacy.
Lenor continued, “In each case, I come away feeling that I as the CASA Volunteer have brought some comfort and clarity to a situation that can be cold and confusing.”
Thank you, Lenor, for your many years of service to vulnerable children in our community and the persistence to bring these children much brighter tomorrows.