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Success Stories

Sharing Her Heart

Geralyn Wichmann (middle) poses with ProKids staff members Brenda Gray (left) and Peri Russo (right).

A CASA Volunteer of over 5 years, Geralyn Wichmann is someone who constantly asks the question: “how can I be of service?”

Her generous spirit has led her to advocate for 15 children in five cases, as well as volunteer her time to various office projects. From helping ProKids digitize our records, to lending her expertise as a former corporate trainer, Geralyn has given so much of her heart to ProKids.

Part of a team that spent over 100 hours organizing and digitizing CASA Volunteer records, Geralyn has been a fixture in our office. And according to her CASA Manager, Brenda Gray, she is also a fierce advocate.

“You have to have a gift these days to connect with our kids, and trust me, Geralyn has that,” she said. It’s her calming aura that makes our kids feel safe, but it’s her consistency that allows them to open up.

In one of her cases, Geralyn serves four siblings: three sisters, ages 16, 15 and 10, and their brother, who is 12. Having experienced domestic violence in their home, these kids were traumatized when they entered the child protection system. And their anxieties were heightened when they were moved to separate placements.

When the oldest was consumed by worries of her siblings’ safety, Geralyn was there to reassure her. As an advocate, Geralyn never lost sight of their bond or the need to keep them connected and informed.

But trauma presented itself in numerous ways. In school, for example, the second oldest was often punished for fighting with classmates – and her protective older sister would often come to her aid – meaning both were in danger of suspensions and expulsion.

Geralyn was vigilant throughout this time – engaging closely with schoolteachers, counselors and administrators, working to ensure the girls’ educational needs were met with specialized services.

Geralyn remains a consistent voice for these kids – and recently, she even took on another case.

“Micha,” her new kid, is a sweet 12-year-old boy who entered the system when his parents were unable to address his medical needs. Micha has cerebral palsy, which means there are medications and appointments to juggle daily.

As his CASA Volunteer, Geralyn is attentive. During a recent visit, she noticed that one of Micha’s hands seemed weaker than normal. She knew to bring her concern to both ProKids and the foster mother – ensuring it was addressed in his physical therapy plan.

ProKids is grateful that Geralyn is his constant – there to watch cat videos on YouTube at his request, but also there to ensure he is safe and secure with all of his needs met.

She’s even working to ensure that as he ages, he has continuous access to supportive services. Due to his disability, it is important to plan for the future today.

Brenda believes Geralyn is such a blessing because she is so future minded. She knows that even if she doesn’t see all the fruits of her labor today, she is setting our children up for future success. If there is a need, she just jumps right in.

She’s there to spread her wings — sharing her expertise and her heart. And for that, ProKids is proud to name Geralyn our 2022 Merilee Turner Volunteer of the Year.

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