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Lisa Hall (Bedford, N.H.) has served over the past 10 years as a court appointed special advocate (CASA). CASA volunteers support children who are in the court system and often times removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
As a CASA volunteer, Hall advocates for a child's best interest in court and the community, and participates in continuing education courses related to courtroom procedures, social service, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of abused and neglected children. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
Volunteers like Hall typically spend an average of 1 1/2 years working with and serving their children until they are in a safe and permanent home. Click here to see more of her story: http://nas.cr/lWRw
As The NASCAR Foundation launches the 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award nomination process, we wanted to check in with Lisa to see how the experience has impacted him and her organization (and see below for more images).
Can you tell us about some of the most memorable moments you experienced throughout the #BJFHAward process?
The entire experience was so memorable. And re-connecting with Kayla (a former CASA child who Lisa helped place in a safe and loving adoptive home) has been priceless. I actually got to attend one of her basketball games this past weekend! I'm still so surprised when someone on Twitter or Facebook thanks me for what I do, because there are so many people out there doing wonderful things.
Even though the voting campaign is over, the experience stays with you. Recently, I was snowmobiling in New Hampshire and some people recognized me. They came up and told me that they voted for me and then thanked me for what I do for the kids. This process has really reminded me of how nice and supportive people are, and how many good people are out there.
You said before that this experience enabled you to form new skills and conquer new challenges; how did you experience growth?
I can't tell you how much I grew as a person over the past year. I'm from a small town in north New Hampshire, and it really got me out of my comfort zone through all the public appearances and speaking. Now, I'm going to be in a fashion show for CASA on April 11, and will speak at their national meeting in June.
Being nominated for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award is not about the recognition; it's about what this platform can do to raise awareness for the cause. Since becoming a finalist, I've taken a path with CASA that I don't know I would have taken otherwise. Conquering these new challenges and moving out of my comfort zone has been a wonderful surprise that continues to shape me as a person.
How did it feel to be able to donate $25,000 to CASA through your nomination as a #BJFHAward finalist?
It was such a great feeling to be able to use The NASCAR Foundation's donation to help CASA continue their important work. I asked that the money be given to programs with limited state funds that needed it the most, and be used to recruit volunteers who can help the kids who need it most.
Do you have any advice for the future finalists?
Fully enjoy the experience and keep a journal. I kept track of all the special moments I experienced along the way – and there were many of them! Those memories will last a lifetime and you will form special friendships with your fellow finalists.
Editor's note: In the tweets referenced below, Kayla's team was down three points in her basketball game. Kayla went out and scored six points within a minute!