Greg Rice is a case supervisor in our Chester County program. He recently became a licensed social worker, an impressive accomplishment in a social worker’s career. Greg’s excellence is seen in his one-on-one interactions with youth, in the way he trains and supports community volunteers, and in the court room where he provides a strong voice for children to ensure their best interests are heard.
When I reached out to Greg he was catching his breath. He had just finished filling his car with boxes of clothing. These clothes belong to a CASA youth who had been moved from his foster home and wasn’t able to take his belongings at that time. Greg’s passion for the kids means that he will do everything in his power to ease their burden, bring them stability, and be a consistent and caring presence in their lives. This includes making sure their personal belongings aren’t left behind.
I asked Greg how he got interested in social work. He said, “I got involved because I was fortunate to have a family that was very positive and supportive. I met people who had very opposite backgrounds when I was a teenager and it opened my eyes to how different reality can be for people. I felt myself walking through friends’ experiences with them. I saw things professionals should be helping them with but weren’t and critical needs that were being ignored. I recognized I had the ability to help.”
Greg said one of the things that has been the most meaningful to him is when he makes connections with some of the youth and they let him into their worlds. The connections are real and genuine and this type of support allows the kids to make so much progress. He shared that these relationships often continue even after the case has closed. At CASA, our advocates aren’t burdened with large caseloads and systemic barriers in the same way other providers may be. The volunteers are here because they want to be, not because it is their job. Children are blown away by this fact. Greg added, “I’ve been doing this work long enough to see the difference one consistent caring adult makes in a child’s life.”
Greg has now been at CASA for about 2 years and brings his experience working previously as a juvenile probation officer (he was even named the probation officer of the year!). He likes the structure at CASA where we combine volunteer advocates from the community with professional staff. “Each volunteer I work with brings their own unique perspective. That perspective is combined with my knowledge and experience as a social worker. It’s a good healthy balance. The volunteer sees the work with fresh eyes and so do I,” said Greg. As we honor the contributions of social workers during the month of March, we are honored to shine a light on Greg’s remarkable work and the genuine love he has for helping youth and their families to build brighter futures.