For 15 years I walked through the airport on the way to work as a baggage handler, passing the sign with a child’s face in the center. The sign had the word “CASA” yes it means house. It stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. I said to myself every day I am going to do that when I retire. Thirteen years ago I interviewed to be a CASA and I had no idea what Volunteer work a CASA does for the Clark County city of Las Vegas. We went through intensive training of what the court system wants a CASA to do with the foster children that are put in their care. Most children come through the court system and are taken from their parents due to abuse, malnutrition, drug abuse by the parent and there are no other family members who can take them.
The CASA oversees the home, the school, the communication with the judge and the department of family services. The child is given evaluations, counseling, clean clothes and lots of hugs from the CASA. The primary goal of the CASA is guidance to adoption with the proper family. I have had a case of a 3 month old, born addicted. My first case was three children, 2,3,and 4 year olds by the same mother and 3 different fathers all parents were in prison. My opinion counts when I am in the courtroom with the judge. The foster parents have a lawyer, the parents have a lawyer, department of family services is given the case and all of these people are paid. I am a volunteer who is given the case at random and pours my time, my physical resources, and my passion into the life of a child who is defenseless. How many children are in this country who are in foster care? Thousands in every state.
CASA is in every state and you probably never heard of us. We care for the children that are tossed away or taken away. We only hear the stories of the children who are abused, raped, chained to their beds and some do not survive. Not every child in foster care has a CASA. Many cases come to the courts attention when someone becomes suspicious of strange happenings in their neighborhood or apartment complex.
I incorporate my CASA volunteerism into my weekly schedule and I have 9 jobs, a husband and 8 grandchildren. You always have time to help someone in need and there is at least 4 hours every week you spend on something that is important. There is nothing more important than a child in need. Becoming a CASA is not for everyone but there is a chance you can volunteer somewhere in your community that could change someone’s life forever.
The oldest female child of 13 children. Born and raised in Norristown, Pa.
Attended 12 years of Catholic schools. She started working with her father at his data entry company when she graduated from High School.
She married a Naval officer at the age of 22 and was immediately immersed into the Washington, D.C. culture. After two years they were transferred to Honolulu, Hi. Two years and his tour ended. They moved to Ohio where their children were born. In 1978 they were divorced due to his heavy drinking.
In 1983 she met an Air Force officer and they married in 1984. They moved from Michigan where she had her own byline in a local newspaper and her own television talk show for Singles. On to Oklahoma. After 2 years they moved to Lexington, MA then to Long Beach, CA.
A friend and she started a Wine Brokerage firm, selling wine to restaurants in Los Angeles county and the Palm Springs area. The children went off to college.
In 1998 we moved to Henderson, NV where she was employed by Caesars Palace. She was promoted to a gourmet wine server in 1999 and became a Sommelier in 2001. She continued her education to become a bartender within the culinary union. Her passion is volunteering in the community with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). It is to assist children in foster care to transition to adoption.
She wrote and published 3 books in 2020 and 2021.
A Single Touch Queen of the Hill by Maryjane Spillane
Nan’s Alphabet by Maryjane Spillane
Nan’s Alphabet for Children by Maryjane Spillane.
She continues to work in the food and beverage industry with the following hotels:
Caesars Palace and their 9 properties
Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Michelob Ultra Arena
Sodexo International Las Vegas Convention Center
Learn more at https://asingletouch.net/.