When you become a CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocate—you can make a significant difference in a child’s life. CASA is a national organization that supports children who have been abused or neglected. Across America, at-risk and vulnerable children need caring adults to step up on their behalf. If you enjoy helping children and want a volunteer position that can change lives in a huge way, CASA might be for you.
According to CASA’s national website, 280,316 abused and neglected children had a CASA volunteer speak up for them last year. Although that’s an impressive number, the fact remains that 432,677 children are still waiting for a volunteer to empower them. Like many nonprofits, CASA is always in need of people who are willing to help.
Becoming a volunteer requires a background check and participation in a 30-hour training course. Volunteers must also agree to stay with their assigned case until it is closed. On average, this takes about a year and a half. Finally, volunteers must be available for court appearances.
Most communities have a CASA program. If not, you could start one in your area. Click here to find out if there is one near you.
One Woman’s Experience
After teaching special needs kids for forty years, Tommie Conlen became a CASA in Nevada City, California. She’s been volunteering for six years, and she says that the opportunity has been rewarding on many levels.
“I work with a variety of local organizations and institutions to determine what is in the child’s best interest,” she tells us. Now working on her second case, Conlen describes her time as an investment of energy and heart.
If you have the time and energy and love the idea of helping children who are in the system, call your local CASA to see if you’re a match.
Do you volunteer for a local organization in your area? If so, please tell us about it.
Jan Fishler, MA, is currently co-authoring a new book, Don’t Stop Now, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (DontStopNow.us). She is also the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir), and has written several articles about alternative health and PTSD. You can learn more about Jan at www.JanFishler.net.
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