Melanie Lansberry began her journey with CASA in November 2015 while looking for a way to combine her love of kids with a desire to become involved in her community.
While Melanie knows firsthand that the work isn't easy, it is so important.
"I really feel that the CASA program offers some sort of stability for children that otherwise have none," she said. "I am the only thing in this child's life that isn't changing rapidly. New teachers, social workers, foster parents, judges, lawyers, and doctors can be overwhelming for a child. My goal is to be the rock for these children in addition to making sure they are taken care of in all ways."
A big key to making that happen? Listen.
"Most of all, just listen. The people involved just really want to have someone listen to them," she said.
Melanie also stresses that the problems so many children face aren't as far removed from us as we'd like to think.
"I have much experience working with children -- back to when I was a teenager working on missions trips to orphanages," she said. "More recently, student teaching in the local public schools really opened my eyes to see that some problems in third world countries are also happening here in my own town."
Melanie is currently advocating for two children in Luzerne County and has previously advocated for another.
When she is not so generously devoting her time to protecting the lives of children right here in our own backyard, she enjoys cooking, camping, biking and kayaking with her family.
She is a PA certified elementary teacher and is currently using her skills as a private tutor for at-risk and special education cyber-school students.
Melanie's hard work and tireless dedication is essential to the success of the CASA program. We can't reach the kids who need us the most without people like Melanie and the rest of our amazing advocates.
Thank you, Melanie, for all that you do to change the lives of the children who so desperately need it the most. We are so grateful for you!