1. How did you hear about/get interested in CASA?
I learned about CASA about 8 years ago while reading a news article of some kind. I researched it online and thought it seemed like an interesting and important way to help kids.
2. What do you like about CASA?
First and foremost, I like that there is such an organization in existence that supports children in the dependency system. I am still early in my experiences (5 years), but it is easy to see how overwhelmed all the “paid players” are in the Children and Youth system. These employees certainly all care for children, but their caseloads are such that it’s virtually impossible for them to get to know each child really well.
I think this is the vital role of each CASA-to advocate passionately for each child’s unique needs and dreams. It is important to note that CASAs work on only one or two cases at a time.
3. 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?
I have impacted the life of each child for whom I have advocated! I have worked with four children (2 cases) thus far. The “impacts” have been mostly small-encouraging foster parents to have their child screened for speech therapy, modeling appropriate play techniques to young, inexperienced parents, bridging lines of communication between educators and foster parents in times of trauma. Important issues were addressed quickly because, as the CASA, I initiated some specific action that was crucial to support the child. The impact on me is the very deep satisfaction of having helped a child.
I am also happy about the relationships I have formed with friends in the CASA group. When training is finished, there are opportunities to gather with others who obviously have similar priorities.
4. What would you tell others who are thinking about becoming a CASA volunteer?
What does one need to become a CASA volunteer? 1) a love for children and 2) a willingness to go out on a limb to help a child. You need to do research, make phone calls, go on visits, and follow through on issues that affect the child.
I have served as a CASA since 2013 while working full-time as a teacher. I encourage anyone who loves children to attend a CASA information session.