Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma recognizes Tammy Taylor, a CASA volunteer serving Ottawa County as the advocate of the month.

MIAMI – Each month, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) celebrates the advocacy of one of our CASA volunteers. This month, we celebrate the service of Tammy Taylor, a volunteer advocate in Ottawa County for over a year and a half.

Taylor has been married to Jeff for 27 years. Together, they have four children, two boys and two girls, as well as five grandchildren, one boy and four girls. Taylor credits her mother for working hard to provide the best upbringing she could; however, her childhood was not easy. She started working at age 14 and ever since then, she has committed herself to improve her family’s life and the lives of those around her.

On top of a large family and working full-time, Taylor has always been a dedicated volunteer. Prior to moving to Miami, Taylor had volunteered for two different organizations providing food and meals to families in need. She has also worked with Building Bridges out of Poverty, a cause dedicated to breaking the chains of generational poverty.

Taylor first learned of the work CASA does through a friend who volunteers in Kansas. Once she moved to Miami and saw the office by chance, she knew it was time to begin serving as a volunteer.

Taylor admits there are a few challenges to being a CASA, yet there are many more rewards. Taylor loves “When your CASA child gets excited to see you and starts running to his mom saying Miss Tammy is here.” She also sees the rewards of her labors “When you see a mother holding her baby girl with tears running down her face in court after the case has just been closed and she hugs you and says thank you.”

Another positive aspect of service that Taylor enjoys is when a family rights the ship and succeeds in their personal lives. Reunification and maintaining the family is a goal of CASA when possible. Taylor said there is a reward in seeing “a young family that had nothing get jobs and their own apartment.”

When asked how she connects with children involved in the cases she serves, Taylor said “Every child is different and has gone through different situations. I listen to the children and if they like something I ask them to show me or we talk about it.”

Being a CASA volunteer is an emotional rollercoaster at times. Taylor said “it’s hard to see and hear things that break your heart. We can’t take away what has happened or take away the pain but what we can do is make sure they are not hurt again.” She continued to speak about the importance of consistency and following through as a volunteer. “Keep your word to the children and show up when you say you will. A lot of times the children have been lied to and trust no one and I believe that once they see that you will keep coming back over and over and it’s not just words, they start to open up.”

It is clear that Tammy Taylor is devoted to improving the lives of people in her own community. She works tirelessly to serve abused and neglected children, as well as their families. It is this type of hard work and dedication CANO looks for – the agency is in constant need of more dedicated volunteers. If you are inspired by Taylor's story or the work CANO does in being the voice of neglected and abused children, contact the agency for more information.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma/CASA

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. The agency also serves the courts of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.

Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a member agency of the United Way of Rogers and Mayes Counties and the Ottawa County United Way.

Persons interested in learning more about CASA can find information about the agency on its website: www.cano-casa.com. To support the work of CASA volunteers, go to www.cano-casa.com/ways-to-give and click on the “donate” button.