CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Northeast Oklahoma welcomes Serena Gray as their Summer Intern.
CASA is a local nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system in northeast Oklahoma. CASA volunteers and staff work to help change a child’s story. They work to make sure children who have been taken from their homes because of evidence of abuse and neglect don’t face dependency court and foster care alone.
Serena lives in Pryor. Her parents are Brett and Cathy Gray, and she has two brothers, Von and Brunk, and three dogs. A student at Oklahoma State University, she is pursuing a degree in Human Development and Family Science with a concentration in Child and Family Services. Following her internship, she will return to OSU to finish her final year and earn her degree. She then plans to either earn a master’s degree of Social Work or attend law school.
Her internship will involve learning, participating, and gaining hands-on experiences regarding what is involved in providing services to children in foster care in a legal setting.
“Serena is enthusiastic and has already made a positive impact within our organization. She is willing to help in any way she can,” said Angela Henderson, Executive Director, CASA of Northeast Oklahoma. “I am confident that whichever career path she chooses to follow, she will be successful.”
“I look forward to this opportunity to get involved with CASA because it is likely an organization I will work closely with in my future as either a social worker or lawyer. I want a better understanding of how the organization works and what exactly they do for the children they provide services to who are in foster care. Prior to this, I did not have much knowledge about what CASA was, so I thought that there is no better way to learn than to dive in headfirst,” said Serena Gray.
Serena is not the first member of her family to work with the organization. Her granny, Bonnie Gray, was a CASA volunteer!
In addition to all of her other accomplishments, Serena holds the distinction of being the reigning, and last ever Miss Pryor, winning the title in 2020! Due to complications resulting from COVID, the competition was not held for two years and is now called Miss Mayes County.
The CASA movement is central to fulfilling society’s fundamental obligation by making sure a qualified, compassionate adult will fight for and protect a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect and learn and grow in the safe embrace of a loving family.