Retiring after 21 years with the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Barbara Hobbie was looking for a way to help people and to give back to the community. An announcement in the Connection Newspapers led her to become a volunteer with the Court Appointed Special Advocates. In that role, she advocates for abused and neglected children dealing with the county court system.
Here, Hobbie answers a few questions about herself and discusses her impressions of CASA.
Number of years in the community. 33 years.
Family. I am married and have two grown children. Aimee Cason, 30, is a nurse practitioner lives in San Diego with her husband, William, who is a pilot in the Navy. Erik, 27, lives with his wife, Wendy, in Chicago and works as a software developer. I moved around as a child (lived in four different states), but my children grew up in Springfield. My husband, Richard, is retired from the federal government and is executive director of the National Association of Workforce Agencies.
Your first job. I came to Virginia in 1975 after earning a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University. My first job was with the Epilepsy Foundation at Georgetown Hospital. I worked for Fairfax County Department of Family Services for 21 years in Adult Protective Services. I specialized in the problem of hoarding and guardianship.
Activities/interest/hobbies. I love playing tennis and I am captain of four USTA tennis teams. I am retired but work part time at Fairfax Racquet Club as a receptionist. I also love to travel.
Favorite local restaurants. Mike's American Grill.
Community concerns. Affordable housing including assisted living in Fairfax County.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? I had no idea, but I loved talking to people and I was always interested in people.
Personal goals. I want to become a better tennis player and stay in good health.
How did you decide to volunteer with CASA? I read about CASA in the Connection Newspaper. I was retired for a short time and was enjoying myself. I thought I should do something worthwhile for others. I didn't want to provide social work services. I wanted something new. I was always fascinated with the court so the idea of being a court advocate appealed to me. I also liked the idea of helping children. I went to the CASA information session to find out more about the program and the responsibilities of a volunteer. I was impressed by the program and the people who manage it.
What do you hope to bring to the children in the program? I hope to be objective and to make sure their needs are being met. I realize that the professionals such as attorneys and social workers don't have enough time to do some things. I do have the time to find out what the children need and to research the resources. Also, I know from my experience as a parent that sometimes you have to fight to get services for your child.
What, in your opinion, is the most important issue facing children today? First, their basic needs such as food, clothing, housing and safety must be met. Then, they need to belong to a family that provides love and emotional support.