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Randy Gratz – January 2021 Featured Volunteer
- How long have you been a CASA?
I was a member of the June 2020 training group, and, then became an “official” volunteer in July.
- What brought you to apply to become a CASA?
As a former public school teacher and then long-term administrator, I had the privilege of working with several CASA volunteers, many of whom were retired school teachers and administrators. As a result, I often witnessed the passion and caring of the CASA volunteers in discussing students who were on their case loads. As a teacher and principal, my focus was always on disenfranchised students, and, to see the support that CASA volunteers provided for many of the same students I worked with, was powerful from my perspective. I often discussed the process of becoming a CASA volunteer with many of the volunteers, and, followed through after moving to Bloomington to kick off my retirement!
- Besides being a CASA volunteer, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m involved with the Hoosier Hills Food Bank, specifically delivering food boxes on a monthly basis to an apartment complex in Bloomington (my connection to this opportunity is the Unitarian Universalist Church). Although due to Covid-19, one of my passions is somewhat on hold. As a bassist in four different area bands, I was, and hope to be more engaged, again, in performing at various venues in Bloomington, South Central Indiana, and Brown County in the near future. I play in two big bands, a Hoagy Carmichael tribute band, and an eclectic band playing 60’s/70’s music. Finally, kayaking and cycling round out my retirement (and, waiting on the fantastic IU Student Recitals to reopen again!).
- What do you love the most about being a CASA?
One of the driving forces that led me to begin my 41 years as a public educator was to engage with at-risk students and families. Working with students who faced a variety of social and/or economic barriers has always motivated me to provide supports and resources in order to either remove or lessen the impact of those barriers. As a result, having now been focused on advocating for two CASA youth, I am able to reconnect with my passion to problem solve, advocate, and be a consistent support for my assigned young people. This is what I most appreciate about the opportunity to be a CASA volunteer.
- And now for a little fun, what’s a hidden talent or unusual fact that most people don’t know about you?
Probably because I’m somewhat frugal (others may use a different term-cheap?), I, along with another teaching colleague of mine, built my first house from the foundation up, in Brown County. Not having enough fun with that multi-month project, I built our second home from the foundation up. Two house builds was enough, however, but what an exercise in perseverance, problem solving, and patience (coupled with two great homes!!). Both houses are still standing, and paid dividends when I sold both!