Besides serving as a CASA volunteer, Fletcher is a great supporter of the local CASA agency, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma, and currently serves on the board of directors for the organization.

MIAMI – Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are everyday citizens who have been trained to serve as the “voice” for abused and neglected children in the court system. Appointed by a judge, CASA volunteers advocate for these children in the court to ensure that they are placed in a safe, nurturing home.

Each month, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) highlights the selfless work of one of its CASA volunteers. This month’s Spotlight features Vondie Fletcher, who works with foster children in Ottawa County.

Fletcher lives in Miami, Oklahoma, with her husband Troy and has two adult sons, one daughter-in-law, and two beautiful grandchildren. Active in her community, she has served in several roles in her home church, First Christian Church in Miami, and recently served on the board of the Ottawa County United Way.

“I have been a part of volunteer activities throughout my adult life – March of Dimes, United Way, church," shared Fletcher. "But as far as volunteering, this has been the most fulfilling and rewarding yet intense situations that I have ever been a part of. Just knowing and understanding that I have been able to give a 'voice' for the children and, hopefully, helped them to end up in a safe living environment.”

Fletcher has been a CASA volunteer since October 2016. When asked about how she got involved in CASA, she explained that she had read through the CASA funding request paperwork when she was on the board of the Ottawa County United Way.

“I felt like it was something I needed to be looking into as I felt like I was at a point in my life to give back to the community, so I contacted CASA,” said Fletcher.

Serving as a CASA volunteer comes with some challenges. For Fletcher, her greatest challenge is the emotional turmoil of working on a case. She shared, “The biggest challenge would be actually trying to put my emotions into a file cabinet drawer so that I can sleep at night because I am a very emotional person. I’m trying to separate that from day to day, but I try to use that emotion when needed as well. That was a real struggle at the beginning, but I’ve gotten better at that now.”

“The other part is I am a ‘fix it’ person,” she continued. “If I see something that needs to be fixed, I attack it full force and my expectations are to have it fixed pretty quickly. And this is not a quick process, so that’s been a struggle just understanding that I really don’t have control over time.”

However, Fletcher also pointed out that the work is very rewarding as well.

“As I mentioned before, I have been a part of volunteer activities throughout my adult life – March of Dimes, United Way, church – all of those types of things. But as far as volunteering, this has been the most fulfilling and rewarding as well as stressful thing that I have ever done," said Fletcher. "Just knowing and understanding that I have been able to give a ‘voice’ for the children and hopefully helped them to end up in a safe living environment.”

Besides serving as a CASA volunteer, Fletcher is a great supporter of the local CASA agency, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma, and currently serves on the board of directors for the organization.

Fletcher also is a ready spokesperson for the work of CASA.

“What I say when someone asks about CASA is that I work full time and do this, and it isn’t always easy, but the reward far outweighs anything else," she said. "And, you know, at this point there’s just too many children that need people to ‘give back’ so they can ‘give forward.’”

“Vondie truly has a heart for this work and she has a great intuitive sense about what is really going on in a case," said Sally Davis, Advocate Coordinator for Ottawa and Delaware Counties. "She approaches this work wanting to do the best job she possibly can.”

Many more CASA volunteers, like Fletcher, are needed in the area. Those interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer can read information on the agency’s website http://cano-casa.com/volunteer or by contacting Gayle Hanson, Training Coordinator, to get information about the next CASA training class at 785-623-6955 or 918-923-4570 or by email at gayle@cano-casa.com.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO)

Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a CASA agency that recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers to be the “voice” for abused and neglected children in the judicial system.

With offices in Claremore and Miami, the organization supports CASA volunteers in five counties in northeastern Oklahoma – Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, and Delaware Counties. CANO also serves the courts of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.

CANO is a member agency of the United Way of Rogers and Mayes Counties and the Ottawa County United Way.