By Callie Langford
Today is national Make a Difference Day, one of the largest days of service nationwide when volunteers come together to improve the lives of others.
CASA volunteers are making a powerful difference for children every single day, even though it isn’t always obvious.
I have no doubt that today, a CASA of Travis County volunteer is taking the child they serve out to the park for a fun activity or a lunch at McDonald’s. This outing will help them strengthen their relationship and build trust (crucial to our advocacy ability), create positive memories for this child, and most of all, bring a desperately needed sense of normalcy to a tumultuous time in this child’s young life. I have no doubt that throughout this week, CASA volunteers will speak up in court, attend a school meeting or observe a visit between siblings.
The difference a CASA volunteer will make in a child’s life cannot be measured or celebrated in just one day. The CASA volunteer’s impact will show up weeks, months and years into the future.
The additional trauma-informed therapy a CASA volunteer recommends to the judge will benefit the child years from now by building up a sense of resiliency and ability to cope and self-regulate.
The connections a CASA volunteer supports between a child and their relatives, even when the child is being adopted by someone outside their family, will prove invaluable down the road when the child is struggling with their identity and searching for connections to their heritage.
A CASA volunteer’s educational recommendations for a child to repeat a year in school will give the child confidence over the long term as they advance from grade to grade, instead of always feeling a few steps behind their peers.
The encouragement a CASA volunteer gives to parents to grow their skills and knowledge to better support their family will help children for a lifetime. A child will get to grow up with a healed, reunified family instead of being split apart and potentially growing up in the foster care system.
We commend the efforts of all volunteers across the country today. Their impact will be great.
For our CASA volunteers, while you may not be able to see the finished product of your work on this single day, know that the difference you make will be a lasting one in the lives of the children you serve.
Holidays October 2017