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Volunteer Spotlight

‚ÄčEvery CASA or Guardian ad Litem volunteer's story is unique, and every volunteer has a lasting impact on the lives of abused and neglected children in the State of Minnesota. Take a peek into the lives of just a few people who are part of the CASA MN story.

"I feel that we all have to serve in some way, 
and this is the way I want to serve the people." 
—Ed Ogrin, CASA volunteer

As a retired engineer for eight years, Ed Ogrin knew there was more he was meant to do with his time. Reading through the newspaper one day, he came across an ad for the CASA/Guardian ad Litem program and has been a volunteer ever since.

"I’m retired, and this is a new phase of my life where I am kind of learning a complete new part of my career…doing something completely different and satisfying a purpose," said Ogrin. "When you retire, you don’t lose that need to be satisfied in what you’re doing, and the [CASA or] Guardian ad Litem program provides that for me."

In the midst of many different types of cases and family dynamics, Ogrin has seen his share of hardships, dysfunction and struggle. Through it all, he remains positive and reminds himself of the reason he continues to volunteer his time.

"It’s not always a pleasant thing, but you are helping the children who are caught up in this and helping to develop programs that will give them a better life," said Ogrin. "You see the situations they are living in, and it kind of tears your heart and you just want to help. It is not always easy work, but it’s satisfying."

While the age range of children in the CASA/Guardian ad Litem program varies, Ogrin chooses to spend his time on cases involving older children. He feels it is important to help them as they transition into adulthood. In addition, Ogrin feels that his involvement as a male role model is important to the program.

"There is a need for male figures—I’ve been a guardian for girls and boys, and I just think there is a need for more men," said Ogrin.

Although the cases can be emotionally challenging, the CASA/Guardian ad Litem program serves as an opportunity for the volunteers to make a difference, and to have a voice for many children whose voices are not always heard. Ogrin has been involved in nine cases since he became involved with CASA MN, and is constantly reminded why he continues to devote his time. "I feel that in every case I have been a part of, I have provided things that add value in the cases, which gives me the most satisfaction," said Ogrin.

Regardless of the parameters, details, and challenges of each case, Ogrin believes that the time and dedication spent on a case-by-case basis truly does make a difference. "I think in the long term the children will look back and see they were helped," said Ogrin.

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