At first glance, Dr. Heather Critchosin wasn’t sure if she was the right person for the case CASA presented to her.
“I remember first meeting this kid and wondering how I would ever be able to connect with him,” Heather said.
Heather has done more than just connect – she’s significantly impacted his life.
“The most memorable experience I have has as a CASA was holding an incredibly tough and streetwise teenager in my arms as he sobbed because his entire world fell apart,” she said. “It hit me hard to realize how much my role as a CASA meant to him during those weeks of crisis. I instantly tear up every time I think about it. My own biological teenagers have never, ever needed me like that.”
Heather’s commitment to this young man has proven the necessity of a court appointed special advocate for children who are going through some of the most difficult and trying times of their young lives.
His life is forever changed because Heather stood up and agreed to advocate for him.
“The most important thing about being an advocate, for me, is knowing my child is thriving in areas that were once serious struggles,” she said. “Confidence has replaced fear and smiles have replaced tears. A few phone calls, a listening ear, and a little time go a long way in the life of a struggling child.”
It’s been proven time and time again the impact that a caring, consistent, adult presence has in the life of a child. Not only that, the impact that a positive change in a child has in the overall community.
“The stories of the 440 children in Luzerne County that are yet to be served, although confidential, are very real and often beyond imagination,” Heather said. “Never mistake the necessary silence of these stories to be a sign that these children are okay. They are not. Research shows that children served in the CASA program have fewer out-of-home placements, spend less time in foster care, and do better in school. These outcomes provide a stronger future not only for the child, but also our community as a whole.”
If you, like Heather, are ready to make a positive change, we invite you to join us for one of our upcoming info sessions to learn more about becoming a court appointed special advocate.
January 22, February 4, and February 19 all at 5 p.m. at the CASA office. Click the links to register.
Heather, who hold multiple degrees in education, is a native of Northeast PA and still lives in the area with her two daughters, Morgan and Rylee, three dogs, and one cat. She was sworn-in as a court appointed special advocate in June 2018.