Q&A: CASA Youth Advocates’ Leigh Anne McKelvey
The executive director of the Chester and Delaware counties branch shares her passions.
MLT: How did you first become involved with CASA?
LAM: I became involved with a program in Allegheny County as an intern when I was in my master’s program at the University of Pittsburgh. The program director from that agency came and spoke to one of my classes. I had never heard of CASA, but I immediately knew that it was what I wanted to do.
MLT: What are some of the struggles these children face?
LAM: Kids in the foster care system unfortunately often get bumped around from home to home, and they spend a long time in the system looking for permanency. Our goal is ultimately to find permanent homes for our kids, whether that’s reunifying biological parents, finding an adopted home or a relative that will take custody of them, but often times that journey is a long one. In the mean time, we work hard to make sure that kids are having their needs met, whether that be special education services in schools, tutoring, or mental health therapy for particular traumas they’ve gone through.
MLT: What do you find most rewarding about your work?
LAM: I really think it’s seeing the dedication of our volunteers, and seeing the relationships that volunteers build with the children that they serve. They oftentimes become the most trusted adult in our kids’ lives because they are so often bouncing from foster home to foster home, seeing a turnover in caseworkers and other professionals that work with them. It is truly inspiring to see people give of their time and energy like that.