Throughout his life, Mike Cline has served as a faithful steward for the city of Marion and all of Grant County.
Cline spent over 25 years working at the Chronicle-Tribune, before spending nine years at the Grant County Prosecutor’s Office, engaged in grant writing and grant managing.
After retiring in 2017, Cline has remained active in the community, most notably serving as a councilman for the Marion Common Council. In spite of all the years he has served Marion, he wanted to continue serving in some capacity.
After retirement, Cline spoke with colleagues who served as volunteers for CASA of Grant County. Cline always had an interest in the tremendous work that CASA does for the children of Marion and wanted to become involved with the organization.
Roland Auble and Mike Day, two longtime advocates for CASA and friends of Cline’s, convinced him to volunteer, and in February of 2018, he became a full-fledged CASA volunteer.
“I wanted to still be active. I wanted to still do something,” Cline said. “Having listened to what [Auble and Day] said, I wanted to see if I could do it.”
In his three years of service, Cline has worked two cases, one of which involved four children.
“I’m glad I did it,” Cline said. “It’s a valuable thing to do. Little kids don’t always have someone when dealing with things in an adult world. Being a CASA is an opportunity for the kids to have a voice and to have someone who is going to speak for them.”
His first case, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed him to meet with the children two to three times a month, usually in an outside setting. During these meetings, Cline asked questions, listened to them, and checked on their progress.
His second case, which occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, involved children who were living out-of-state, altering the way Cline met with the children. Because of this, communication with the children was rendered exclusively via the telephone.
In both cases, reports were made and files were created, which the court reviewed to assess progress and determine additional needs in service to the children.
While working as a CASA involves long hours and arduous work, even for volunteers, Cline is proud to be involved with an organization that goes above and beyond for the children of Marion.
“I am happy that I got to play a small part…in improving the lives of six kids, and restoring to them some stability in their lives,” Cline said. “I think CASA’s services are very vital. These are kids who are likely to have major decisions made concerning their lives, and the idea that no one is going to speak up for them is intimidating and frightening. When you have this many kids in need of something, and if they don’t have a voice, a real voice…it’s intimidating.”
CASA work is often grueling and difficult. CASA’s see the worst that humanity has to offer, witnessing the horrors that are inflicted on some of the population’s most vulnerable.
However, despite the challenges, for Cline, seeing the impact that CASA makes on children’s lives, and knowing that their work makes a vital and tremendous difference, makes it all worth it.
“[It’s rewarding] to see something be done for them,” Cline said. “Seeing a kid get into a home, whether it’s reuniting with parents or going to an adoptive family, giving the kid a home…that’s a good feeling.”