Each month, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) celebrates the advocacy of one of our CASA volunteers. This month, we are highlighting the service of Susan Cleveland. Susan has served as a volunteer advocate in Rogers County for two years.

Cleveland works at RCB Bank in Claremore. Previously, she spent thirteen years working with the Youth with a Mission organization in Mexico. “I can’t see myself not serving in some form,” Cleveland said. She backs that up with her involvement. In addition to volunteering with CASA and actively serving at the First United Methodist Church in Claremore, she serves on the board of the Rogers County Literacy Council and has volunteered at The Equality Center in Tulsa.

When it comes to her CASA service, Cleveland says it’s a continuous learning process. “Trying to truly know what our role is as a CASA volunteer, where our boundaries are, and the fact that we are not DHS or family counselors. I have to maintain my focus on advocating for the child and being on their team,” Cleveland said about the challenge of volunteering with CASA. Like many CASA volunteers, she wants to fix everything right now. CASA work, however, is a slow, arduous process.

The process, however, is where Cleveland finds her reward. Cleveland said the best part of serving is “watching the children grow. Overall, the blessing comes from seeing the difference in the children’s lives when they are in a safe, nurturing environment.”

The more enjoyable aspect of volunteering with CASA is the process of volunteers getting to know the children on their cases. Cleveland grinned while talking about visiting the girl on her case. Essentially, Cleveland simply enters into the world of the child, getting on the floor, on their level, and allowing the child to be a child. In doing so, the children have come to trust and rely on Cleveland.

The best part of volunteering according to Cleveland is “seeing the children flourish. Knowing that they are in a loving home is what it is all about. It’s very fulfilling to know you are impacting a child’s life.”

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma needs more extraordinary volunteers, like Susan Cleveland, who are willing to serve the most vulnerable children in our community. Like Cleveland, you could volunteer even while having a full-time job. If you are inspired by their story and want to learn more, do not hesitate to call our office at 918-923-7276. There are new volunteer trainings throughout the year so you can start immediately.