Volunteer Spotlight – Kari McKee

Meet Kari!

Kari McKee has lived in Tulsa for 28 years and has always been engaged in the community. Two of Kari’s daughters are members of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, a fraternal organization that has supported CASA on a national level for over 25 years!

Although she was familiar with CASA through her daughters, Kari read about Tulsa CASA in a local newspaper and attended one of our Lunch and Learns over 2 years ago. She has been advocating for children inside and outside of the courtroom ever since!

Kari and her husband Sean have four children; Kelsey, Connor, Katherine and Caroline. Their family also includes a golden retriever named Tess and a yellow lab named Rorie.

Kari says that her occupation is being a full-time homebody, but she has many hobbies. When she is not working with children and the Safe Babies Court Team, Kari enjoys gardening, reading, and cooking. She also loves the beach when the weather is warm!

In past volunteer experiences, Kari has been very involved with her church and has also participated in a Reading Buddies program. Kari has truly made a difference in the cases that she advocates on, and we are so happy that she made the decision to dedicate her time and become a child’s Court Appointed Special Advocate. Thank you for advocating so passionately for the children on your cases, Kari!

“I talk to DHS and service providers, and visit with the natural parents and the foster family, just to get to know everyone involved in the baby’s life. CASA provides an unbiased set of eyes to evaluate what is best for the children involved in the proceedings. CASA is an additional resource for the court, to help the court make the best decisions possible.” — Kari McKee

A Note from her Advocate Manager

Kari is a wonderful volunteer! She has seen two children to permanency and continues to advocate thoroughly and objectively for her current CASA kiddo.

She consistently brings great information to court and expresses best interest clearly and skillfully. She has been an ideal addition to the CASA family as well as the Safe Babies Court Team. – Elizabeth Fisher

New Advocates
June 2018

Congratulations to our newest group of volunteers for completing training and being sworn in as Court Appointed Special Advocates! We will not be providing a training session in July, but that means that you have plenty of time to get signed up for one of our sessions in the fall! Call 918.584.2272 or look on our website at www.tulsacasa.org for more information about upcoming training dates and volunteer requirements

Volunteer Spotlight – Tina Bellamy

Meet Tina!

Tina Bellamy is one of our CASA’s who has been appointed to serve children in our Baby CASA
program. Baby CASA is part of Tulsa’s Safe Babies Court Team and focuses on children aged 0-3 paying special attention to infant mental health and the importance of forming secure emotional attachments during the first three years of life.

Through Tina’s work with the Safe Babies Court Team, she has witnessed how CASA impacts families, stating “CASA has been a lifesaver to so many parents. Without CASA, parents would be lost on having help to get their children back”.

When Tina is not attending hearings, visiting with caregivers, and offering support to families, she has many hobbies! She and her husband enjoying attending concerts and they like almost any genre of music. She also likes to take her dad fishing, and loves to attend Yoga class during the week.

Tina has been married to her husband for 25 years and she has 3 children, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and a bearded dragon! One little known fact about Tina is that she has many beautiful tattoos—but would like to continue adding more artwork!

Tina’s kind heart and her ability to stay upbeat in even the most difficult situation makes her such an asset to our Baby CASA program. Thank you for all that you do to lend support and encouragement to the families on your cases, Tina!

“After you see a child’s case close and reunification with the child’s parents, you will know it was worth all of your hard work and going to all of the meetings and court hearings. Try not be nervous—just do what you can and in the end you will not regret it” – Tina Bellamy

A Note from her Advocate Manager

Tina is a wonderful advocate. Her first case ended in a successful reunification with kiddo and parents.

Tina not only tirelessly advocated for her CASA child, but was instrumental in identifying and troubleshooting barriers for the parents. Her collaboration with other professionals on the case made her a great addition to the Safe Babies Court Team. – Elizabeth Fisher

Volunteer Spotlight – John Schmidt

Meet John!

John Schmidt is a retired computer software development manager who is no stranger to the needs of the community in Tulsa county. Having lived in the area for most of his life, he is very passionate about being involved in the community, and has volunteered with Tulsa C.A.R.E.S, Kendall-Whittier, and Circle Cinema—as well as serving on the board for Circle Cinema.

John has been a CASA since 2010 and has been with the youth on his current case for almost 8 years. Regarding his work on that case, John states “I am pleased to say that I’m the only person who has been in my kid’s life for all of the last 8 years, and he knows and appreciates it”.

When John is not spending time with his CASA kiddo, he enjoys traveling across the country—he went to 8 national parks last summer alone! He also enjoys playing golf and spending time at the gym when he is home.

His two grown children live out of state, but his cats, Stella and Gloria Jean, keep him company and travel along with him in the RV.

John understands that children in the system don’t have the security and comfort of a nuclear family like most kids, and wants to offer them whatever support he can to help them grow positively through this difficult time in their lives.

While his CASA youth will soon age out of the system, the support that John has extended will no doubt carry with him throughout his life. John exemplifies the CASA mission in so many ways. Thank you for your volunteerism, John, and for continuing to show your CASA kiddo that one person can make a huge impact in the life of another.

“Children in the foster care system feel isolated, but CASAs are able to provide consistency and support in their lives that may not exist otherwise. A CASA can stay aware of the child’s life and facilitate actions that that need to be taken.” – John Schmidt

A Note from his Advocate Manager

John has been serving the child on his case for nearly eight years. He is a perfect example of the consistency a CASA can bring to the life of a child in the foster care system.

His commitment and dedication are unwavering, and we are so thankful for all of the hard work he’s done in advocating for the best interests of his CASA kiddo. – Kylee Jenkins

New Advocates
April 2018

We had a group of 6 wonderful women swear in last night from our April training session! Call 918.584.2272 to find out how you can sign up for one of our next training classes and become a child’s Court Appointed Special Advocate. Congrats, ladies!

Volunteer Spotlight – Michele Cordova

Meet Michele!

Michele Cordova is a dedicated CASA advocate who was searching for a meaningful volunteer experience after her daughter departed for college at OU in 2016.

Having participated in task-based volunteer activities for much of her life, Michele was looking for something that would keep her accountable and allow her to make a difference, and felt like CASA could provide that opportunity to her. We are so thankful that she chose to become a CASA volunteer!

As a Human Resource professional leading global payroll transformation efforts, Michele travels often and loves to learn about a culture through the local food and drink.

Aside from traveling domestically and abroad for work and being a CASA volunteer on three different cases, Michele likes to relax at home or cook in her free time. In addition, being a Sooner Mom has recently become one of her favorite hobbies!

Michele’s daughter and a few of her close friends describe her as “intentional, passionate, and loyal”. Michele lets these characteristics shine on her CASA cases by connecting personally with the child, such as asking how a concert or school assignment went since their last visit, and then casually asking about the “tough topics” to identify and address ALL of their potential needs.

We appreciate your advocacy, Michele, and we would describe your work with CASA kiddos as being very intentional, passionate, and loyal, as well!

“Tulsa is such a philanthropic community with opportunities to serve. But, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your WHY and WHAT. CASA fills a needed gap to provide realistic input, not a checklist or mandated perspective, to the court process. The connection with the children and families—both natural and foster—can be pivotal in helping smooth the process.” – Michele Cordova

A Note from her Advocate Manager

Michele is truly an outstanding advocate. It did not take her long to learn the ropes of being a CASA and she has made an impact for our program in so many ways.

Her ability to remain objective in all scenarios is remarkable and she never ceases to fight for the best interest of the children. Michele is able to create and maintain special relationships not only with the children but the entire family.

Her determination to fight for our most vulnerable children has made her an asset to our program. – Kaitlin Brasher

New Advocates
March 2018

We are wrapping up the last day of our March training session for these new CASA advocates! March was a small but strong group of volunteers and we are so excited for them to get started on their cases! Call 918.584.2272 to find out how you can begin advocating for a child in foster care.

Volunteer Spotlight – Floyd Kirk

Meet Floyd!

Floyd Kirk was sworn in as a CASA advocate last fall, and although he has been a child advocate for just a few short months, he has made an enormous impact on the families he works with.

The foster parents of Floyd’s CASA children rave about how helpful he is — whether he is scheduling appointments, rocking the babies, or playing games with the older children on his case, they know that Floyd will be there week after week to assist in any way that he can.

Floyd is a retired educator who served as a teacher, coach, principal, AND superintendent! When he is not busy spending time with his 8 grandchildren and his 5 CASA kiddos, Floyd can be found serving his community in Glenpool through Church volunteerism, mentoring and tutoring elementary students, and serving on the Foundation board.

He also enjoys watching OSU sports, Thunder basketball, and Pro Baseball games. Floyd lives by a philosophy to “treat all children like they are your own child or grandchild” – and this is something that he consistently demonstrates on his CASA case.

If you see this advocate around town, please help us thank him for being such a dedicated volunteer…but be warned — he has an identical twin!

“Tulsa CASA provides a staff and volunteers that CARE about kids—they represent them at court and assist the foster parents; just being a ‘voice’ is huge for kids that need a CASA worker. Step up and volunteer wherever YOUR passion lies. Volunteers are needed everywhere.” – Floyd Kirk

A Note from his Advocate Manager

Floyd is a newer CASA who has jumped into his first case like a pro. He goes above and beyond on his case to make sure that his children’s best interests are heard by all involved.

He always has a huge smile on his face when he talks about his children, and it’s clear to anyone that he absolutely cares about them.

When I hear other professionals and foster parents brag about him and his hard work, I’m reminded that he’s a special CASA and I’m proud to be his supervisor. – Courtney Davis