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Michele Simms – April 2019 Featured Volunteer
- How long have you been a CASA?
I have been a proud CASA volunteer for almost 5 years. I was interested in joining for years prior to signing up for training but was in the middle of a graduate program, earning a master’s degree in nursing. Only two weeks after completing that in May of 2014, I started CASA training.
- What brought you to apply to become a CASA?
I have been a pediatric/obstetric nurse for almost 20 years, so I’ve worked with many families over the years helping them with their children’s physical, mental and behavioral health care concerns. I’ve also been interested in criminal justice, social work and have a psychology degree from IU Bloomington. I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with children and families that need extra support and fulfill my passion for advocacy, helping those families that are going through a difficult time.
- Besides being a CASA volunteer, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I am currently the Pediatric Care Manager for the IU Health SIP Riley Physicians outpatient pediatric practice. Prior to that, I was a bedside nurse, charge nurse and manager for the Women and Children’s Services at IU Health Bloomington Hospital. I am currently on the board of the Monroe County CARES, a member of the Department of Child Services (DCS) Child Protection Team, an active member of our Monroe County System of Care and a member of the Monroe County Suicide Coalition. In my spare time (I find some, usually!), I enjoy reading, camping and spending time with my family: my husband, two children and our beagle. My most fulfilling role is being a mother: my daughter has her own home, is a pharmacy technician and engaged to be married next year and my son is a freshman in college, studying graphic design and sports management and works for IU.
- What do you love the most about being a CASA?
Being a CASA is challenging at times but the support that you get from the staff is amazing. I like collaborating with all the staff, the DCS staff, the biological families, the foster families and all the hard working service providers. Most of all, I just enjoy getting to know the children in my cases; I’ve been a CASA for 11 children so far, from age 1 to age 17 and from all socio-economic statuses and ethnicities.
- And now for a little fun, what’s a hidden talent or unusual fact that most people don’t know about you?
I have written poems and hope to write a book in the future about being grateful for being you, coping with stress and how to be self-confident and resilient, for all ages. In addition, I hope to offer my home and provide respite care in the future. Thank you for recognizing my love for children!