By Ishmael Behrhorst
This time of year, you will notice an influx of New Year's Resolution content in your inbox, on social media, and in everyday discussion with friends and family. We want to take a moment to chime in and let you know about an opportunity to give back and support kids in the child welfare system. Here are the top three reasons why you should consider becoming a CASA volunteer.
Make New Friends
Whether you enter a training cycle by yourself, or you know someone in the room, becoming a CASA volunteer can be a great opportunity to make new friendships or strengthen existing ones. Our training cycle last month had more than 40 people in attendance. Chances are you are going to make at least one connection throughout your time at CASA. Best of all, you can expand your network with like-minded individuals of diverse backgrounds. You can even relive your graduation day during our Swearing-In Ceremony by sitting next to a classmate and share in the success of your achievement!
Always Keep Learning
Part of the onboarding process to become a CASA volunteer includes 39 hours of training. These trainings help ensure that our volunteers can determine the best interest of children coming from hard places. In addition, CASA offers year-round continued education (with 12 hours required for active volunteers) from local experts and trained CASA staff. One of these trainings is "CAPE" (Cultivating Anti-Racism Through Personal Exploration) which is designed to address disparities and challenge biases. CASA strives to develop cultural humility and awareness in working with children and families from different backgrounds. Another great enrichment course offered by CASA is “Trauma-Informed Advocacy” which teaches people how to understand and respond appropriately to the impacts of trauma for children whose exposure to trauma overwhelms their ability to cope.
Make a Real Impact in Your Community
We know that there are so many great nonprofits that you can give both your time and resources to this year but one of the amazing things about being a CASA volunteer is the real impact you have on a child. CASA volunteers serve as the guardian ad litem for kids in the child welfare system and provide detailed information and recommendations to judges so that they can make informed decisions on a child’s life. You’ll have the opportunity to work with CPS caseworkers, attorneys, therapists, and more. When CASA volunteer Debbie Dulski was asked about the impact she has as a volunteer, she said, “I didn't realize the weight that our work is given in the legal system.” Read more about her story as a co-CASA with her husband, John.
“I didn't realize the weight that our work is given in the legal system.” - CASA volunteer Debbie Dulski
If you’ve never considered becoming a volunteer before, we ask that you think about it! Start the year doing something new. Our vision is to provide a dedicated volunteer advocate to 100% of the children in our community who need us. We need you in order to achieve this milestone.
Can’t volunteer? Help us by sharing this message with your network. There are still children waiting for the powerful voice of a CASA volunteer and you can help us serve them all.
2020 CASA Recommends January