For those of you who aren’t aware, Baroness Juliane von Schmeling is a volunteer advocate for CASA of Luzerne County, an organization that helps ensure children, who might have otherwise gotten lost in the system, have brighter futures. Juliane has been volunteering with CASA since January 2018. This April, they asked if she would like to be the monthly featured advocate. Of course, she excitedly accepted the offer, and what follows is the article that originally appeared on CASA of Luzerne County’s blog.

Volunteerism is nothing new to Court Appointed Special Advocate, Juliane von Schmeling.

After spending years donating her time to various organizations, Juliane was looking to focus her volunteering locally.

“I really wanted to have a direct and real impact on a child’s future with my volunteer work, ideally in Luzerne County,” she said.

After doing some research on CASA and its program nationwide, Juliane ran into an active Luzerne County advocate at a local luncheon and the rest, as they say, is history.

She officially began her advocacy in July 2018 and was appointed to a case involving a teenage boy who was dealing with truancy related to his struggles with Asperger’s.

Because of Juliane’s tenacity, her dedication, and her commitment to her CASA kid, she helped move this case forward by making considered recommendations to the court about what was in her child’s best interest.

“My kiddo now attends school regularly, interacts with other children on the bus and at school, showers and eats regularly, and discusses his future and independence with me on a regular basis,” she said. “All of this has been achieved even though he is on the spectrum. Children just want and need someone to get involved and take their situation and case seriously.”

Not only does Juliane feel passionately about her own advocacy, but she feels equally as passionate about the CASA program and the need to get involved.

“Don’t hesitate! Seriously!” is her advice to potential advocates. “If you find it in your heart to volunteer in a truly meaningful way, and you want to make an actual difference in a child’s life… go to an info session.

“The staff at CASA is very helpful and the initial training, though tough, is invaluable and prepares you well. So don’t hesitate. The need in Luzerne County is tremendous.”

Juliane was born in Frankfurt, Germany and now lives in Dallas. A self-employed mediator and entrepreneur, Juliane has a daughter, Annastina; a German Shepard named Zara, and a cat named Tinkerbell.

If, like Juliane, you want to make a positive impact in the life of a child and, in turn, the future of our community, we’d love to talk to you about becoming an advocate. If you’d like to support CASA in other ways, you can vote for us in the 501cFree virtual fundraiser by clicking here. Each vote of $5 comes directly back to our organization, which will allow us to recruit, train and support more volunteer advocates to meet the need in Luzerne County.