Judge Byrne swears in 40 new CASA volunteers

Oct 20 2016

Judge Byrne swears in 40 new CASA volunteers

The Honorable Darlene Byrne led the Swearing-In Ceremony for 40 new CASA volunteers on Tuesday, October 18th. Today we wanted to share some of Judge Byrne’s words to volunteers:

You know, life kind of gets in the way a lot and often throws up reasons to say, "I'll do that next year," "I'll do that later in my life." It's easy for us to say "I've just got too many things on my plate."

The one thing I know that you can never make, recreate, revisit is your time. It's our most valuable thing. We're going to spend about the next thirty minutes together celebrating your commitment to the children of Travis County. You will never ever get those thirty minutes back, ever, and I know that. And I know you've got lots of things to do in your life. There's no doubt, but yet, you've chosen, selflessly, to give of that thing that you can never recreate, your time, to the children of Travis County who need you. And let me just tell you they are amazing. I think you are going to be awed with this journey that you're about to go on.

I preside over about 1,400 kids in any given day and some are those kids that you've read about in the paper over these last few weeks, children without placement. That breaks my heart. We don't even care enough to have a place for them to lay their heads down at night, in this state. That's shameful. We must do better. They deserve better. They've been abused and neglected through no fault of their own and yet we, as the great State of Texas, with 26 million people and I can't even imagine what our budget is, we don't even have a home for them to go to.

And it's worse than I've ever seen it. I hate to tell you that. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer. It's worse than I have ever seen it. I don't know what the fix is, it's over my pay grade, but I do know the one thing that is a fix and does, in fact, make a difference. And that's a CASA volunteer. If I just had that, a CASA volunteer for every kid. We're still about 20% short of having CASA for every kid. So I know the leadership at CASA of Travis County is working tirelessly to bridge that gap.

You know I look at somebody like [the young man from Austin Classical Guitar who just played to open the ceremony]. What if he needed a CASA volunteer and we didn't have one for him? That would just break my heart. What if I had a kid sleeping in a hotel and that kid didn't have CASA? So we need you. We need you to replicate yourself. I believe on this journey you are about to embark on, you are going to receive more than you give and I know you're going to do a lot. So thank you, I applaud you and I can't wait to work with you, to have some good results for our children and families in this community. Thank you very much. 

Newly sworn-in CASA volunteers

See all the photos from our Swearing-In Ceremony on Flickr and Facebook.