CASA Volunteer Becky Huff-Mattran
My name is Becky Huff-Mattran. I have been a CASA Volunteer for 1 year now. I have been working as a Revenue Auditor for the State of Nebraska for almost 28 years. I am married and will be celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary this July. We don’t have any kids, but have rescued several cats over the years. I also worked part time at Helzberg Diamond for 18.5 years at the Westroads location. I stopped that job about a year before I started as a CASA volunteer. My “why” is because I do believe the children are our future and we all have a part to play in that, whether the children are ours or not. I believe we all have a part to play in making our children and our world a better place.
How did you first get involved with CASA?
I heard about CASA on the radio. My husband is a teacher and had mentioned the situation of some foster kids at his school. We had discussed how hard it is to be a kid in today’s world. I had more time on my hands, since I had quit my part time job, and I know, first hand, how hard it can be to work within government rules. My husband was helping kids by being a great teacher. I decided I could try by helping one kid at a time.
What has surprised you most about being a CASA?
The child welfare system is even more complicated than I thought it would be. I work for the state and am use to some of the problems you run into, but this is an area that needs to be reformed more than most, in my opinion.
How do you balance giving time to your CASA case with your job/family/life obligations?
There are times balancing everything is a challenge, like court report time, but for the most part it takes less time than the part time job I had, so it works out pretty well for me.
What's the best thing to happen since you started working/volunteering with CASA?
The best thing that has happened to me since I started as a CASA volunteer was when my CASA child hugged me. I didn’t expect it and she seemed really happy.
What do you wish other people knew about CASA?
I just wish more people knew what CASA Volunteering is. Most of the people I mention it to, have never heard of it before.
Tell me about some of the people you've met while working at CASA?
Despite the problems with the system I have met two foster mothers that I think are wonderful. They truly care about the child and trying to do what was best for her. They both even took steps to do more when the “system” wasn’t working the way it should have or fast enough.
Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to work with CASA?
My husband influenced me to work with CASA. Not because he said anything about it directly, but because of the growing problem he is encountering at school as a teacher. It seems that kids in general are struggling more than in the past. There are more kids with emotional and mental issues they have to deal with. Being a child in the foster system makes these struggles even more difficult.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
What might surprise someone about me is I played piano for 6 years and then flute and piccolo throughout high school and college. I was an accomplished musician back then.
What do you think will change about CASA over the next five years?
My hope is that over the next five years the number of CASA to foster child ratio will be closer to a one on one basis. I have already experienced my child having three different foster locations and two FPS (caseworkers). During one of the transitions, the child’s age was even lost track of and she almost did not get started in Kindergarten timely. If each child or sibling group had their own CASA then they will be better tracked and looked out for.
If you weren't serving as a CASA Volunteer, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
If I weren’t serving as a CASA Volunteer, I would probably be donating time working with animals. Another “group” that needs advocates to look out for them. However, if I did this I would probably end up an animal hoarder.