Pam Copley has volunteered with CASA of Missoula since 2018. In that time, she has advocated for eight children in three families, and dedicated over 162 hours to their best interests. Pam has stood by the side of many children who’ve experienced darkness many of us could never imagine. As her CASA supervisor Allie puts it, “Pam is the person who runs into the fire. There’s no case too challenging for her.” There’s no doubt her tireless efforts have changed young lives and our community for the better.
Pam’s most recent dismissed case was “a success story of monumental proportion” as Pam, herself, puts it. The treatment team worked hard on behalf of two siblings that were deeply emotionally, physically, and educationally neglected and abused. Pam became very close to the children, and they shared a lot of time together. “They went from scared, confused children to confident, happy, silly kiddos,” Pam said. The children were placed in an exceptional foster home that hung in there with them while they worked through significant issues of trauma. The foster family recently took permanent guardianship of the children and their future looks bright. Although the case has closed, Pam says she will remain a part of their lives as a friend. “We went Christmas shopping together and sincerely enjoy spending time together,” Pam shared.
Pam says her primary objective with the children she serves is to “Become a trusted friend. Make sure they know I am on their side and will absolutely let the judge know exactly how they are doing and what they want him to know.” Pam is very responsive to everyone on her case, shows up for all hearings, and writes timely, detailed reports to the court. Pam even gives the extra time to mentor new CASA volunteers.
Pam quilts in her free time. Wanting to help even more foster children, she works with a project called Quilts 4 Kids in acquiring handmade quilts for children in foster care. There simply aren’t enough words to convey the true treasure that Pam is, and how grateful we are to have her in our program!
Matt took his first case in the fall of 2016. Over the past five years, Matt has advocated for 11 children in three courts.
In one of his earlier cases, Matt advocated for five children for two years. The mother in this case was particularly resistant to working with any of the parties on the case. According to Matt’s CASA supervisor at the time, Kirsten Pulito, “Matt did a great job working with mom and formed a relationship with her when she was reluctant to work with anyone. Matt has a calming effect on whatever case he’s on.”
Additionally, Matt frequently visited the children at all their different placements and schools, keeping the court informed of the children’s needs. This case was ultimately a success story: the mother achieved sobriety and had her children returned to her care.
Matt is making a lasting impact on his current case as well. Laura Johnson, a Child Protection Specialist, reached out to our staff to commend Matt, saying, “I just wanted to let you know how instrumental Matt’s work has been to moving the case forward. He is present at every meeting (two per week!) and has been extremely helpful in providing feedback to me about his opinion and always has an update ready for court.”
Laura continued, “I know it is sometimes more difficult for CASAs who are working to attend every meeting; however, Matt is always able to be flexible and participate. He is on top of the case and able to remind the court of issues they wanted to follow up on. I just wanted you to know how much his involvement is helping and appreciated in this case.”
Matt’s exceptional work is recognized by CASA staff, parties on his cases, and our District Court Judges. Thank you for all you do, Matt! We truly appreciate you.
Tom Russell started volunteering for CASA of Missoula in October of 2019. According to Tom, “I believe that we owe our time and effectiveness to the community. I’ve always been concerned about the impact that various addictions (alcohol, drugs, etc.) and parental criminal behavior are having on the youth in our nation. I have some acquaintances who were CASA Volunteers in the past, and their description of what they did in that role and the impact that they had on the youth with whom they were paired caught my attention.”
Tom immediately stood out at CASA of Missoula for his exceptional attention to detail and unrelenting dedication to his role. As a result, our staff assigned Tom to arguably one of our hardest cases, which has been open for many years and requires long-term advocacy. We knew Tom would take the time to dig deep and learn the case inside and out, push the team to zealously advocate for this child, and stay involved as long as needed to see the case through. Less than a year later, Tom took on an additional case to make an even bigger impact.
Margaret, Tom’s CASA Supervisor, shared, “Tom is an amazing CASA. He is extremely dedicated and has a true passion to help. He’s already written four court reports for his case and he’s available for every call, hearing, and Zoom meeting. The child in his case is nonverbal, but despite the communication barrier, he works so hard for her and has her best interest at heart. I’m so happy to be able to work with him.”
Lastly, Tom takes his continuing education as a CASA very seriously. He attends all of our CASA Connect meetings and the majority of our in-service trainings. He has dedicated nearly 100 hours this last year to his CASA kids! Thank you so much for all you do, Tom.