I volunteer because every child deserves to be treated with love, kindness, decency and respect. To live in a home that offers anything less is unacceptable. I volunteer with the hope of helping a child know that they are worthy of this and so much more and with the hope of making a difference. I volunteer because these children continue to be a blessing in my life and they each deserve a parent(s) that feels the same way.
At one time or another, we all confront that ‘what’s it all about’ issue. My life has been absolutely blessed, but I have not had the experience of raising kids. In pursuing volunteer work, I wanted to give something back to the community; preferably, something that would benefit children. After several less than satisfactory volunteer experiences, I stumbled upon CASA and was immediately impressed with the level of responsibility extended to its volunteer Advocates. At a time when the traditional family is under assault, CASA affords me the unique opportunity to help a child achieve a level of stability within a safe, permanent environment. As a CASA volunteer, I am privileged to have a stake in contributing to the well-being of a child in distress.
“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”—C.S. Lewis
What will you do with yourself after closing your classroom door for the last time? I faced this question three years ago as the door closed on my life-long work as an educator. Many opportunities for meaningful volunteer work were presented to me, but becoming a CASA advocate provided me with the opportunity to positively impact the lives of children—the most important work.
What does “I Am for the Child”, a current mission statement of CASA, mean for the work of an advocate? It means that many times the advocate is the most consistent adult presence in the life of an abused or neglected child. It is the advocate’s job to gather information for the court; to help insure that all children have a safe and secure place to live and grow; and to listen to the child. The work of an advocate is “the most important work” I have ever done.
I have been an advocate for over a year, and I am quite certain CASA is where I am meant to be. The children I am assigned to tug at my heartstrings in a way I have never experienced. These kids have no power or control over their environment. Insecurity and Instability are core themes in their lives. Consider what it would be like to come home at night not knowing what to expect when you get there. What would it be like to go to school when no one helps you succeed at home? These children need a strong advocate to step in and be a voice of reason – this is what I strive to be. I spend time face to face with children in tough situations, time investigating their surroundings and time telling their stories to adults who can make meaningful improvements. If you are considering becoming an advocate, do it! Anything you have done in your life will be put to use working with these kids in need. I love being an advocate and can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.