Enthusiastic new volunteers kick off training with CASA 101

Jul 30 2012

By Callie Langford

Last Wednesday we welcomed a new group of trainees to CASA. While our training schedule is flexible and classes can be taken in any order, everyone starts out with CASA 101, so this class is always a fun opportunity to meet new people and find out why they’re training to volunteer with CASA and where they’re coming from.

Wednesday’s class was small but enthusiastic. We had 3 attorneys in class, a retired educator, and two women who had joined us through their work with The Junior League of Austin. 

Training Director Lydia Garcia really enjoyed getting to know this great group of people. She shared, “What I love about 101 is that everyone comes in with their own experiences and they all have something to bring to the table. I often hear from people who have previous experience with the foster care system who worry that maybe they won’t be a good advocate because they’ve experienced this. Then I hear from others who have no experience whatsoever with anything we’re dealing with, and they’re also worrying they can’t be good advocates because they’re so distanced.  I tell both groups the same thing: as long as you have a desire to help children and families and you can separate your personal values and not impose those on families – if you can set boundaries – you can do this work and you can help kids.”

Some of the new volunteers shared their stories on why they’ve started training:

  • One man shared how he had been forced into early retirement while fighting cancer. As a survivor, he feels blessed to have a second chance and wants to use this second chance to help others.
  • Our former teacher always loved working with children, but as she worked her way up in the education system she started working on projects that meant less direct contact and work with kids. She missed that work a lot, and now she’s at a place where she wants to work directly with kids and families again, and she picked CASA!

And we heard some great feedback from one of our attorney trainees in an email after class:

“I’ve already learned so much and look forward to learning more. Lydia, Wendy, Key, Sonia, Brian and the whole team are outstanding. I was so impressed at how organized everything was. Getting started was really easy. It’s evident how much effort the whole team puts in.  The volunteers in our class were amazing, too.”

Our next CASA 101 is Thursday, August 16th at 6 pm. If you’re ready to get started training to be a volunteer advocate, or know someone who is, send them to http://www.casatravis.org/volunteer to learn more, fill out their application and schedule their pre-training interview with our volunteer team.