Opry Night 052

Mickey Trent invests her time with Williamson County CASA because she believes that the organization makes a long-lasting impact in the community. As the owner of her own company, the businesswoman juggles running a healthcare recruiting firm, tending to her own family and helping neglected children in the local court system find a safe and permanent home—but says that the commitment is something that’s become important in her daily life.

“I became involved because my oldest son was going off to college, and I knew I’d have a difficult time letting him go and staying out of his way. I began searching for a volunteer opportunity that would be meaningful and a useful distraction,” she said. “In thinking about volunteer options, it dawned on me that I should do something to help other kids because there are so many kids who do not have the kind of love and attention that my kids have.”

Mickey first learned of the non-profit’s work through a Dr. Phil program in 2010. After doing some research on the program and learning about the training that CASA advocates receive, she entered the program shortly after.

She says through the process she’s seen a profound effect that CASAs have on the lives of the children and their families.

“Having spent time in the program, I truly feel that if each child in the court system had a CASA then he or she may not be in the system as long,” she said. “And if everyone had a CASA, those repeat offenders would lessen; they would be monitored more closely to ensure that services that were put into place for the child are effective and have the capacity to remedy the issue.”

Since becoming a CASA nearly four years ago, Mickey says she’s stumbled into several “ah-ha” moments that have changed the way she sees certain situations.

“You can look at families from the outside, and judge them by how dysfunctional it seems. But when you get to know those people, and dig into the situation, you hear about their lives and how things have spiraled out of their control,” she said. “I’ve come to understand that everyone wants the same thing: a healthy, happy life.

“But some people do not have the capacity to function in traditional parental roles in society for various reasons. They are not bad people, they are often misguided by circumstances out of their control and they have no idea how to redirect their family dynamic. It is a process and not a quick fix. In the meantime, the children often fall through the cracks and end up in the court system.”

Mickey says that through the work she is doing, she feels an enormous sense of responsibility that further drives her desire to impact the families’ lives. “I see my kids in their eyes and strive to use my time and energy to give them the same kind of hope and promise that my kids have because each child deserves that, regardless of their situation,” she said. “To me, each case I’m involved in is an affirmation that I’m putting my time in the right place. The work is so meaningful.”

The small business owner says that the value of CASA comes with being able to make a difference. Because the work of a CASA compliments both the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) efforts and guardian ad litems’, the children involved are able to receive a thorough representation surrounding each case.

Though she’s committed much of her time into her efforts, Mickey says she’s reaped personal rewards through the process as well.

“CASA volunteers are a good group of people. Since CASA is a unique opportunity, the advocates are very eclectic and unique which makes CASA meetings and social gatherings a lot of fun,” she said. “We tend to bond over our mutual love of children. The camaraderie that I have enjoyed was an unexpected bonus.”