Stillwater News Press

Lifestyles

August 9, 2010

Making a Difference 8-9-10

Payne County CASA volunteer keeps working through frustrations

STILLWATER, Okla. — Court Appointed Special Advocates don’t necessarily leap tall buildings in a single bound but they do overcome obstacles during their advocacy work.

Payne County CASA Hero of the Fourth Quarter Nancy Beckstrom has learned the ropes of a complex child welfare system and the juvenile deprived court system during her nine months as a CASA volunteer.

“Nancy is an outstanding volunteer who has spent a great deal of time with CASA staff trying to work through the unique situations in her case,” Program Director Carmen Miller said. “Nancy is very determined to do the best she can in her advocacy work for her CASA child and she has stuck with it despite many frustrations. The result? She has been an incredible asset to this case and to her CASA child. Volunteers like Nancy truly make a difference in the lives of these children.”

“I could not do this job without the constant support of the CASA staff,” Beckstrom said. “Trying to understand the ins and outs of the system that our kids are in is overwhelming. Having a trained and available staff like we do makes doing my job possible. I just don’t know what children without a CASA do to have their voice heard.”

Beckstrom is a retired teacher. She taught in Tulsa; West Ranch Montessori in Conifer, Colo.; The Presbyterian School in Houston, Texas; and at an early childhood center in Moscow, Russia. She also taught elementary school at Cairo American College in Cairo, Egypt, and Jakarta International School in Jakarta, Indonesia.

She is married to James Beckstrom, who owns an energy consulting firm based in Stillwater.

“He allows me to vent when I need to and doesn’t ask too many questions,” Beckstrom said of her husband.

One of their two sons, David, introduced Beckstrom to CASA when he was managing a restaurant in Colorado Springs, and the local CASA program held a fundraiser there.

“David was impressed by their mission of work and told me about it,” Beckstrom said.

Beckstrom also has a love for horses and uses it in volunteer work as well.

“Although I am no horsewoman, I do love them and I am currently serving on the board of directors for Turning Point Ranch. This is a therapeutic riding program that serves physically, mentally and emotionally challenged people. My appointed CASA child loves the program. It brought happiness when there wasn’t much of that happening in the child’s life,” she said.

“Nancy Beckstrom is one of our newer CASA volunteers and she was immediately assigned to a very difficult case. I have admired Nancy’s work ethic, report writing and dedication to the child involved in her case. I look forward to working with Nancy and all of our other CASA volunteers on cases in the future,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Kulling said.

Nancy has advocated for everything from medical and health issues for her CASA child and kept on top of the child’s schooling, including making sure the child had the appropriate clothing.

“Nancy has been tireless is alerting DHS that she will help when she is available and she is always helpful to her CASA child when it comes to working through whatever issue is at hand,” Case Supervisor Mary Kate Couch said. “Nancy has spent countless hours on research regarding whatever subject may be an issue in her case. She has spent so much time and effort to speak up for the best interest of her CASA child.”

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