Spotlight: Thomas Oglesby
Thomas (Tom) Oglesby, is one of Florida Foster Care Review’s 75 inspirational volunteers. He is an associate of Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A.’s Miami office in the firm’s Construction Group, where his focus is on construction law and complex business litigation, products liability, insurance disputes, and intellectual property law. Since February 2016, Tom has volunteered 113 hours as a Citizen Review Panel (CRP) volunteer. Although our volunteers are only required to serve one full weekday each month, Tom consistently goes above and beyond our expectations, serving twice and sometimes three times a month as a substitute on other panels.
He is a dedicated and passionate volunteer who is very thorough during the review process, asking excellent follow-up questions and giving helpful recommendations to ensure children’s needs are met.
Although having child welfare background knowledge is not a requirement to volunteer with FFCR, Tom’s knowledge has only been beneficial to all who get to work with him. From 1995-1997, he was a case manager and worked with children and youth who were in medical foster care. During his time as a case manager, he encountered the CRP numerous times and had “great experiences with the panels”.
His experience ranges from conducting legal research and helping to draft a proposal for a regional truth and reconciliation commission for the African Great Lakes with the Hotel Rwanda Foundation, to working with Kristi House on drafting and advocating for the 2012 Minor Sex Trafficking Safe Harbor Bill as a member of the Governor’s ad hoc Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Committee. During his third year in law school Tom also worked with the University of Miami Immigration Clinic, alongside faculty and students on complex immigration defense and asylum cases.
Tom earned his JD from UM law school in 2011, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and served as an Editor on the University of Miami Law Review. Before law school, Tom earned his undergraduate degree from UM with a degree in Psychology and minors in Chemistry and Biology. He worked in the medical industry for over eleven years- eight of those years as an orthopedic surgical consultant for one of the top five orthopedic reconstruction and trauma companies in the U.S. and Europe. Between 2015 and 2016, Tom served as the Executive Director for Hear Congo, assisting them in securing contracts to open their second educational center for victims of gender violence in Katanga Province, DRC. When asked what motivates him to give so generously of his time, Tom explained:
“Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali poet, author, and naturalist, wrote, ‘I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and beheld that service was joy.’
“Public service and volunteerism is vital to the success of our communities and broader society. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, I think most can agree that our government institutions alone do not have the resources or organizational agility to meet all of the needs of our community. Those who have benefited most from the advantages provided by society and the communities we live owe those communities a debt of gratitude and must find ways to give back. Further, public service and volunteerism has a crucial role in our personal development and fulfillment. Some of my best experiences and fondest memories have come from public service, whether building a house with Habitat for Humanity, lobbying for changes in legislation, or donating time to work with children or elderly in need, for me service truly has been joy.
“The major reason underlying my decision to volunteer for the Florida Foster Care Review Panel was my experience with FFCR as a medically needy foster care case worker for DCF (then HRS). FFCR was an invaluable resource for me as a case worker trying to meet the needs of children suffering from a range of medical, mental and emotional conditions, often more severe and outside the scope of those that my colleagues in other non-medical units dealt with. FFCR gathers a group of highly talented individuals with unique skills and experiences which it brings to the table to provide fresh perspectives and potential solutions to some of the difficult and intractable problems that caseworkers and their clients must confront every day. It has been extremely rewarding to have had the privilege to add my own experiences to FFCR to safeguard and improve the lives of South Florida’s Foster Children.”
We are inspired by Tom’s long-standing and enthusiastic commitment to FFCR’s mission and our community’s vulnerable children and we are grateful to him and all of our dedicated volunteers for their generosity of time and talent. To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit our website at www.fostercarereview.org.