Heidi Patterson has set off on a journey to figure out who she is and what she loves to do, and she’s following children’s lead to get there.

“I still don’t fully know what I want to be when I grow up, I guess,” said Heidi. “I would love to go back to that stage where you feel invincible and know that nothing is off limits. You get a little jaded when you’re older, but kids are filled with wonder and awe.”

After navigating the corporate world for 20 years, Heidi decided to take a step away. She has been a stay-at-home mom for the past six years, prioritizing the support of her children and so many others. Heidi is a volunteer at her children’s school, and she has been a CASA Volunteer for the past two years.

At school, Heidi volunteers to monitor lunchtime. She walks around the room and has the chance to observe children’s behavior.

“What better way to observe youth but in their environment?” Heidi asks. “This is where they can let loose and be themselves. They don’t always know how to verbalize what they’re feeling, but they’re pretty darn good at letting you know regardless.”

Heidi has had the opportunity to get to know CASA children and families in a similar way, as she walks alongside them in their individual environments. Her eyes have been opened to the difficult situations that many families are facing in our community, as well as the various obstacles they must overcome to meet the requirements of the court.

“It’s easy to cast stones when you’re not the one going through it,” said Heidi. “I have noticed a shortage in treatment facilities, mental health resources, and so much more.”

This understanding has helped Heidi keep an open mind when working with children and families, looking to them to understand what they need and what barriers stand in their way. As Heidi mentioned before, children are pretty darn good at letting you know.

“These kids are brilliant,” said Heidi. “They can solve things themselves with just a bit of guidance from an adult. I have so much to learn from kiddos – they teach you how to be a better person.”

As Heidi progresses down the path of self-discovery, she is learning more about the world around her, she is growing more invincible with every step, and she knows nothing is out of reach when children guide the way.