My experience as an CASA Volunteer

What sort of impact do you feel you have made by being a CASA volunteer and/or what sort of impact has being a CASA volunteer made on you? In May of 2016 I was appointed a case that involved a sibling group of five children that had been removed from their parents in December of 2015. One of my first visits was to the oldest child’s school to review educational records. As I looked through her IEP, I noticed that no progress was frequently noted regarding physical therapy sessions that the child was participating to address her tip-toe walking. I asked school officials if they knew the reason the child walked on her tip-toes and they did not. Because of numerous foster placements and other circumstances, there had been no real investigation as to why this young child walked on her tip-toes.

Due to personal experience I suspected that this young girl was on the autistic spectrum. As her CASA, I was able to advocate for her to be first seen by a foot specialist who was able to rule out a physical condition that was causing this child to walk on her tip-toes. I was then able to advocate that the child be evaluated by a psychiatrist. It was determined through the evaluation that she was indeed on the autistic spectrum.

Today, this amazing young girl is receiving the appropriate services to address her educational and emotionally needs. National studies confirm that children who are assigned a CASA receive more services than those without. As a result, these children’s chances for leading happy, healthy, and productive lives are increased. CASA volunteers make a real difference at a critical turning point in a child’s life. It has been very fulfilling for me, personally, to be a part of a child’s journey and to be their voice when they often feel alone and unheard.

CASA Gains Nine New Volunteer Advocates

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CASA of Berks County is proud to announce the swearing in of nine new volunteer advocates. The swearing in ceremony took place at 4:30 pm on May 24, 2018 at the Berks County Services Center and was presided over by Judge Ullman and Judge Nevius. CASA now has 44 trained volunteers advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children in foster care in Berks County.

CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a national organization that trains community volunteers to advocate for children who have been abused and neglected within the child welfare system. A CASA volunteer is appointed to 1 or 2 cases at a time by a judge so that the children have a consistent and compassionate adult presence who will listen to the child and give that child a voice within the court system. Advocating for a child improves the child’s chance of receiving vital services and succeeding in school.

For more information on how CASA volunteers help children in foster care and the long term benefits children receive, call Executive Director Ashley Frank at 610-301-8634, e-mail info@casaberks.org.

The nine new advocates are:
Dana Drissel
Brenda Druck
Harry “KJ” Fry, Jr.
Nicole Celentano Gallagher
Lisa Johnson
Gretchen Schubert
Theresa Sellers
Donald Stripling
Robert Weinmann
 

FIDEVIA Golf Classic Raises over $17,000 for CASA

On May 9th, FIDEVIA Construction Management and Consulting raised over $17,000 at their first charity golf fundraiser benefiting CASA of Berks and Lancaster Counties. The event was considered a success from all sides, hosting 124 golfers and bringing in more than 150 sponsors and donors. 

CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, has organizations in 49 states training volunteer advocates to work with children in need of support and provide those children a voice within the legal system. Providing a child with a a CASA volunteer advocate leads to long term benefits for the child and the community like finding them a safe and permanent home. With the money raised from the FIDEVIA Golf Classic, CASA will be able to grow the program by recruiting and supporting more community volunteers to advocate on behalf of more foster children in Berks County.

For more information on how CASA helps children and the long term benefits children receive, call Executive Director Ashley Frank at 610-301-8634, e-mail info@casaberks.org.

Making a Difference One Child at a Time

It has been three months since CASA of Berks County's first swearing-in ceremony of 11 volunteers. Since March 8, 2016, 8 out of the 11 CASA volunteers have been actively serving and becoming a champion for 17 children who have suffered abuse and neglect in our community. Our volunteer advocates together have willingly donated roughly 230 hours of their time to fulfill the duties of a CASA volunteer and ensure the eminent right for these children to a safe, nurturing, and permanent home. Most recently, one of our volunteers received a grant on behalf of an older youth she is currently serving to assist in educational expenses. Our volunteers continue to seek out opportunities to present to the children they are serving to ensure they have the opportunity for a safe and positive future, one that allows them to become healthy, empowered adults and break the vicious cycle of abuse.

It is our belief that all children deserve a safe and nurturing home. Consider giving a child a voice and thus hope by becoming a CASA volunteer. For more information, contact Ashley@CASABerks.org.