Southeastern alumni makes a difference at CASA of Oklahoma County
Southeastern Oklahoma State University opened a world of possibilities for alumni, Christian Boone. With no plans for college until the summer after her senior year of high school, Boone’s life took a big turn, and today she used all she learned at Southeastern to change the lives of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable group- kids in foster care, navigating the court system.
Southeastern alumni, Christian Boone puts her skill to use in her current position as the Director of Development at CASA of Oklahoma County. CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates who help ensure children in the foster care system have the support they need. Her role in the organization is to keep the nonprofit stable through proper funding, so they can continue training and supporting CASA volunteers as they serve children in foster care.
Growing up, college didn’t seem like it would be in the cards for Boone. No one in her family had attended a university so it wasn’t something that she envisioned for herself. As a high school senior, Boone met some Southeastern students on a Baptist Collegiate Ministry trip to New Mexico, and their stories made college feel accessible. Ultimately, the people she met there were the reason she enrolled in Southeastern for the fall semester, with just a couple weeks before classes began.
Upon arriving at Southeastern, Boone was exposed to a whole new world. “It opened up a world of possibilities that I didn’t realize were possible for me,” she said.
“Southeastern was the perfect size where I felt like I could know everyone’s name and I had classes with the same people. It was a surprisingly easy transition from being home schooled in high school, and I think the size had a lot to do with that.”
Boone’s peers made a big difference in her experience, but it was her professors who had the most significant impact on her future. Dr. Randy Prus and Dr. Virginia Parrish at Southeastern provided direction during a time when she struggled to choose a college major. By demanding excellence in the classroom, they pushed her to master new skills and built confidence in her abilities. “These professors encouraged me when I felt like I wasn’t doing well in school. They saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself at the time.”
Boone eventually settled on an English major, and that department led her to meet mentors that would change the trajectory of her college experience. Dr. Virginia Parrish referred her to a technical writing internship at First United Bank which allowed her to develop the skills she uses today in grant writing.
“The professors in the English department at Southeastern were the catalyst for my success. When I think about Southeastern, I think about the professors.”
Today as the Director of Development at CASA of Oklahoma County, Boone contributes to breaking the cycle of trauma in foster children’s lives. The funding she raises provides trained Court-Appointed Special Advocates who serve as a source of stability for kids in foster care, which can help prevent some of the long-term consequences of trauma, like prison time, substance abuse or homelessness. Boone continues to set CASA up for success through the stability of regular funding, and by spreading CASA’s mission across Oklahoma county. As a Southeastern Alumni, her knowledge and dedication to a mission enables CASA volunteers to help transform the lives and futures of many Oklahoma children.