Volunteer Spotlight – Bill Shine
Bill Shine is one of our outstanding male volunteers! He grew up in Bartlesville and has made Tulsa home for most of his adult life. Professionally, he leads a team of software developers at a local oil and gas company. He and his wife, Jami, have a shared passion for CASA. Jami works for QuikTrip Corporation and is a member of our Board of Directors. She was already passionate about CASA’s mission because of seeing the impact it made in Bill’s life, so when approached about volunteering to serve on our Board it was naturally a great fit!
Bill describes himself as being stubborn, meaning-based, and loved. He has a 21 year old “little brother” whom he met 14 years ago through Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He has also worked with teens in local churches, and has spent a lot of time serving (and eating taco’s with) children in an orphan ministry in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Throughout the years working with orphans in a foreign country, people would sometimes pose the question “can’t you just help kids right where you live?” When Bill heard about CASA, it seemed like a great opportunity to be part of the solution here in his hometown. Watching a loved one struggle through the court system made him wonder how confusing it must be for both parents and children alike, and prompted him to take the next step in pursing CASA certification.
What do you enjoy most about being a CASA?
I like to be a connector of people and an encourager. As a CASA, I get a chance to help change the trajectory of an entire family line. Our focus is on the children, but the impact on the children’s parents/caregivers can be just as powerful. Abuse and neglect are often a legacy handed down from generation to generation, and sometimes all we need is a nudge in the right direction.
Based off the case load alone, the traditional role players in our foster care system rarely have the time they need to pay close attention to an individual child’s true needs. CASAs are generally only assigned one case at a time, so we can often see small but important things that might get missed otherwise.
Unfortunately, my CASA child has lived in institutional settings for 6 years. He rarely gets to go outside, play with animals, or go on trips. One of the unintended positive outcomes of COVID-19 has been our increased time on Zoom calls. He loves the technology! I get to walk him around my home and take him through parks and downtown areas while we talk. He loves it when I set our tiny dog up on the desk!
At the end of the day, I care most about the things that will matter when my life here is over. The greatest gift I was given in this life were people who loved me unconditionally and gave their time to help me grow. If I can return a small measure of that gift, it will have meant something.
A Note from his Advocate Manager
Over the last year and a half, I’ve not only gotten to know Bill as an advocate, but more importantly as a person. Bill is kind and caring, patient and understanding; all around a great advocate to have in our program. When I assigned him to his case in February of 2019, I was a little nervous due to the nature of the case and the child involved. But over time, Bill really handled his case with respect and tenacity. Like clockwork, he visited his child once a week, even if only for 15 minutes when the child was placed two hours away. Because of this child’s circumstances, Bill learned quickly he’d have to get on this child’s level, in order to really understand him not only as a child, but as a person. Truly, you don’t see that often with advocates.
I recently learned from DHS that Bill was one of the main reasons they gunned to put this child into a placement that would really help his progress. DHS stated that without Bill and his tenacity, this child wouldn’t be where he is today getting the help he needs. Of course as an advocate manager, that’s so great to hear! It really is a privilege to work with Bill, and see his advocacy grow for a child who desperately needs it. It’s not hard for me to say Bill is a great guy, and an even greater CASA, and our program is lucky to have him! – Kristen Dake