Meet Volunteer Coordinator: Kalei Edenfield
October 2, 2018 | Athens CASA/GAL Program
Volunteer Coordinator Kalei Edenfield considers working for CASA her dream job and has a unique passion for working with children who have experienced abuse or neglect. “ Growing up having my own small encounter with a GAL, I knew from a young age this is what I wanted to do,” Kalei says. “ Through college, and all my experiences the end goal was to always be able to provide advocacy and a voice for our children that have experienced so much but still deserve love and normalcy.”
Get to know more about Kalei below:
My super power would be the ability to heal with humor. I think humor has tremendous powers and has no boundaries. Also, it would be pretty sweet if everyone laughed at ALL my jokes, maybe I wouldn’t have to try too hard.
When I was in Peru getting on a bus to leave Machu Picchu I found myself and the friend with me to be the only non-local, non-Spanish speakers on the bus. The bus driver, who refused to lose any money, kept us all at the station for an extra hour because there was one seat left and he didn't want it to go to waste. Each person that walked by him got a “CUSCO, UNO” yelled at their face meaning ‘one seat left to Cusco please take my final seat. He just kept yelling it at people and getting turned down. Eventually, the other passengers got restless and he left the station with one extra seat. To my surprise, he let me and my friend sit up front. In an effort to be funny, I would yell out the window "CUSCO, UNO" to any person we drove by. The driver and the rest of the passengers thought it was absolutely hilarious every time so I continued.. and my limited Spanish didn't allow me to say much else. At some point he thought I was so funny that he let me choose the music. I plugged my phone in and played an Adele classic (since it was the only album I had downloaded). Everyone on the bus sang to it- in seemingly perfect English and it was like out of a musical with all of us harmonizing and laughing and having a great time considering we were in a very cramped van for several hours. I felt alive and it was a special moment that I will keep forever. It reminded me that there are always ways to communicate with people and humor has no boundaries.
How do you take care of yourself while working in the helping professions?
I believe self-care is very important and have worked VERY hard to master my own self-care routine. I have chalked every Sunday up to Self-Care Sunday for myself. I practice mindful breathing on the daily and try to debrief all troubles of the work day prior to getting home and unwinding for the day. Other than that, I have found hobbies that help me with my mental health, this includes using my humor to create things, watching really bad thoughtless television and forcing my dog to dance with me. Pictured below is my sweet Nelly, endulging in my self-care routine.