CASA Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Dawn Jeglum Bartusch

CASA Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Dawn Jeglum Bartusch

“In this moment, our kids need their CASAs more than ever.” 

Dawn Jeglum Bartusch has been a CASA volunteer since February of 2019. She is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Valparaiso University.  One of her favorite places to be is on the beach at Eagle Harbor in Ephraim, Wisconsin in Door County.   

Dawn noted that she first decided to volunteer because, “I have former students whom I respect greatly who volunteer or volunteered as CASAs, and they inspired me to finally do the training and become involved. I have two children of my own who are now grown and I felt that I now had more time to devote to volunteer work, such as serving as a CASA. Also, in my work as a criminologist, I study and write about the juvenile justice system and CHINS cases within that system. So I’m aware of the need for CASAs, from both a personal and professional perspective. 

When asked what she enjoys about her volunteering, Dawn said, “I have worked with two families during my short time as a CASA and have truly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the children with whom I have worked. These two cases have been very different, but in both, the need for someone to represent the interests of the child has been crucial. I have also loved the opportunity to get to know better Regina and other CASA supervisors who have provided me with the support and advice I’ve needed in my cases.”  

Dawn continues to be a CASA, “Because I feel that I have connected with the children I’ve gotten to know in this role and I want to continue those relationships.” 

During this unprecedented time, CASAs are continuing advocate for kids while also working with their supervisors to identify and weigh considerations about whether to visit virtually or in-person on a case by case basis.   

Dawn added, “The CASA role has certainly become more challenging in the midst of the current pandemic, and sometimes I feel a bit discouraged because it’s hard to connect in the same way with my CASA kids when I can’t go see them and take walks, play basketball (at 50-something, I’m better than they expect me to be – not by much, perhaps, but still….), etc. with them. But I’ve also had wonderful, deep FaceTime conversations with one of my kids and realized that in this moment, our kids need their CASAs more than ever.” 

Thank you, Dawn! 

In honor of Rose Butler who was a CASA volunteer, and who further supported the mission of CASA as a staff member supervising and mentoring many of our volunteers, we are featuring one CASA volunteer each month who is making a difference in the lives of children in Porter County. 

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