Christina Harrison

A Life-Changing Encounter

Program: North Carolina State GAL Program
Location: Raleigh, NC

Seeing the impact that a CASA volunteer had on one little boy convinced Christina to make CASA her life’s work.

On May Day, a day to celebrate spring and new beginnings, we introduce our next Face of CASA, Christina Harrison.

A chance encounter with a little boy and his CASA volunteer brought new direction in the course of Christina Harrison’s life.

While working as a clinician, Christina met Tommy, an 11-year-old boy who had spent half of his life in foster care. Christina, a mental health care worker, had been asked to meet with him weekly for six months and report on his health to his CASA volunteer, who would, in turn, inform the judge assigned to his case.

The more time Christina spent with the boy and his CASA volunteer, the more she learned. This was her first interaction with a CASA program, and she was struck by the life-altering work of the child’s volunteer advocate. The CASA volunteer’s support enabled the boy to share his story of abuse with Christina, who in turn was able to treat him and make recommendations to the court that assured his safety. “The efforts of that volunteer ensured that little boy was not returned to a home where he was being beaten, overmedicated and neglected in other ways a child should not have to deal with—not at any age,” says Christina.

Christina was so emotionally moved by the contributions of the CASA volunteer that she decided to become a volunteer herself. After completing the 30-hour training, she advocated for ten children before deciding to change her career to become a full-time CASA staff member. “Pay was no longer a motivational factor for me,” she says, “and the timing afforded me the opportunity to have a job that I enjoyed.”

Christina has worked for CASA for the last 13 years. Today she is the assistant administrator for the North Carolina state office. Of her experiences, she states, “I am truly honored to have the opportunity to continue my commitment to this great cause.”

*In several states, including North Carolina, CASA programs are referred to as guardian ad litem (GAL) programs