You might know there are many benefits of volunteering. CASA is unique. Learn the top 5 benefits of being a CASA volunteer advocate.
1. You become a part of the solution for a broken, overburdened system
The child welfare system is complex. Agencies that serve children in foster care juggle many cases at once. Because of this, they aren’t able to give every child and case the attention they deserve. CASA is there to be an additional source of information, attention, and commitment for the benefit of each child’s best interest, one case at a time. Rhonda, a CASA volunteer, said it best: “What CASA does is it bridges the gap between the agencies that have a lot going on with multiple cases, and it gives more individual attention to a particular case by bringing one of us on board.”
“What CASA does is it bridges the gap between the agencies that have a lot going on with multiple cases, and it gives more individual attention to a particular case by bringing one of us on board," volunteer Rhonda said.
2. You make a real difference in a child’s life
Our volunteers directly make a difference in the lives of families and children who desperately need the support. Since volunteers only take on one case at a time, they devote time and energy to determining the needs of the child, usually identifying needs of the family as a whole. And because they are present in court, they see the impact they are making on each kid’s life when a judge orders their recommendations. Promoting family engagement that leads to reunification or helping a child receive a college scholarship that makes higher education a reality are among many of the differences volunteers make.
3. You gain the opportunity to connect not only with like-minded individuals, but other members of the community as well
CASA of Travis County hosts many opportunities for their volunteers to engage in connection with others serving their community, like volunteer meetups, continuing education trainings, and workshops. In addition to this, our volunteers gain experience with members of various professional disciplines, such as lawyers, CPS caseworkers, doctors, counselors, teachers, and more. “I’ve met some incredible people in the child welfare system. My career in high tech was to-the-point, no beating around the bush. And with these cases, I learned to have a more subtle, sophisticated approach,” said Mike, a 10-year CASA volunteer.
"CASA Volunteer Training is excellent, and even though volunteering is a time commitment, you always have backup," volunteer Lynn said.
4. You learn about the child welfare system, the legal system, and the courts
“(Volunteering at CASA) is a way to see the legal system from another perspective before I go into the law side of things," said volunteer advocate Olivia, a recent UT graduate. This provided invaluable knowledge for her future career as an attorney. Because our volunteers are in constant communication with all of the legal parties on the case, they are able to understand the child welfare and legal systems and gain significant and real-life experience within those scopes.
5. You receive ongoing education on child development, trauma, substance abuse and other topics
CASA volunteers are learning new things every day. Through our trainings and workshops, advocates learn about a variety of topics such as the impact of trauma on children’s brains, the intersection of poverty with domestic violence, the relationship between substance use and mental health, how to prevent sex trafficking, and more. CASA volunteer Lynn said, "CASA Volunteer Training is excellent, and even though volunteering is a time commitment, you always have backup."
In addition, many of our volunteers talk about having gained skills such as teamwork and collaboration, negotiation, and often more importantly, insights about themselves.