Faith Life, June 2018

Faith Life, Isaac Hammond on why he loves being a “CASA” Advocate for children

Called to Serve as a CASA Volunteer

CASA volunteer Isaac Hammond began his journey with Capital Area CASA Association in March of 2017. During the Sunday worship service at Neely United Methodist Church, there was a message about the mission of CASA and the need for volunteers to be advocates for abused children in the community. Hammond, the pastor of the church, said it was then that the Lord placed on his heart a desire to reach out. He is now in his eighth month as a CASA volunteer.

“I feel that I was called to be a CASA volunteer because in my ministry, I deal with a lot of children with issues in their community and homes,” he said. “I have always had a love for working with children whether it is in Sunday school, Vacation Bible School or coaching the youth basketball team. I love to see children succeed in life and go on to be productive citizens in society.”

Hammond says he wanted to help a child who might not have had all the benefits in life that he did. “There might be something they must overcome to reach the goal that God has called for them,” he said. “So I believe if I can do anything to help someone along the way in life, then my living will not be in vain.”

Volunteers often develop a close relationship with their CASA child. “The biggest payoff of all is seeing a smile on a child’s face … displaying the feeling that they are experiencing someone who is sincere with them.”

Hammond encourages others to get involved with CASA. “God calls us to reach out to help those that may be in need of help,” he said. “It’s our job to fulfill the Great Commission to go out into the world and lead people to a successful life and to happiness.”

His religion has played a role in his participation, Hammond added. “It’s our job as Christians to participate in services (such as CASA) that God has created to help society. It’s our job as Christians to be there, to speak up, and to look out for those who cannot do this for themselves.”

Capital Area CASA is always looking for volunteers to step up and be the voices for abused children in East Baton Rouge Parish. Men and African American volunteers are especially needed. To learn more about CASA. visit www.casabr.org call (225) 379-8598. You can also visit the office at 848 Louisiana Avenue in Baton Rouge.

Healthy Life, September 2016

Sisters Serve as Role Models to Help Kids ‘Be the Best They Can Be’

by Ivy Hamilton, YMCA Marketing Intern
Kourtney and Kayley Williams.
Kourtney and Kayley Williams.

Twin sisters Kourtney and Kayley Williams are self-proclaimed “kids at heart.” That’s why landing summer jobs as YMCA camp counselors was the perfect fit. The Y prefers to call its counselors role models, a title that fits Kourtney and Kayley well. Both sisters said it is important for role models to be respectful and understanding of the campers. “I try to be myself and encourage the kids to the same,” said Kourtney. At such a young age, kids are very impressionable. “The kids look up to us and almost always want to copy what we do. That’s why it’s important to be good examples, good role models,” Kayley said.

Although they were interviewed separately, when each sister was asked who her role model was, she immediately named her mother. Kourtney and Kayley’s mother is their symbol of strength and perseverance. She became pregnant at the young age of 20, but never let it slow her down. After giving birth to two beautiful baby girls, their mother returned to school to finish her nursing degree. As college students themselves, Kourtney and Kayley said they admire their mothers’ hard work, determination and unconditional love.

Kayley Williams
Kayley Williams

Both twins attend Southeastern Louisiana University and are on track to graduate soon. Kourtney is a mass communication major and hopes to one day be a television reporter. Kayley is an early childhood education major with dreams of becoming a teacher following graduation. She says working with the children at the Y has been great practice. “She’ll be a great mom, too!” chimed in Brieya, a camper in Kayley’s group.

This is the sisters’ second year serving as role models at the Y. The girls are identical twins and joked saying that both years, the adults have had more difficulty telling them apart than the campers. “They’re very attentive; they usually can tell us apart by our nail color or book sacks,” said Kourtney. Even though they are in charge of different groups, (Kourtney has boys ages 4 and 5, while Kayley has girls ages 6 and 7) the sisters enjoy working together and love to exchange stories at the end of the day.

Kourtney Williams
Kourtney Williams

“I want to do my best to give the kids a memorable summer,” said Kayley. “It’s important to me that they have as much fun as possible.” The twins said they both enjoy regular camp activities like swimming and field trips, but their absolute favorite is a game called “Drip Drip Drop,” a spin on Duck Duck Goose, reserved for Fun Fridays. Instead of patting each other on the head, the campers take turns dripping water on one another, but the “goose” gets a real cool down when the whole cup of water is dumped on him or her. “The kids look forward to it all week, and so do we,” exclaimed Kourtney.

Even when they’re not at work, Kourtney and Kayley like to hang out with their co-workers, or as they affectionately call it, “the Y fam,” and every Wednesday, the twins spend time with their real family, too. “We all go to our great-grandmother’s house, and she cooks for all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s great quality time together.” Like many other college girls, they also enjoy watching TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl on Netflix during their down time.

The YMCA’s Christian Principles are defined as love, respect, honesty, responsibility and service, something the twins were drawn to when initially looking for summer jobs. “We want to be the best role models we can be, so that the kids will be the best they can be.”