Richard

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1. How did you hear about/get interested in CASA?
I first became aware of CASA as a United Way volunteer serving on its allocation committee. Upon retirement I was researching non profit, human service agencies where I might volunteer some of my time. I came across an article in the local newspaper about CASA’s 2nd graduating class. The nature of the work seemed attractive to me. I have by my own adolescence experienced some family dysfunction. I thought that if I could be of some support to a child in a stressed family situation, it would be a rewarding experience. 

2. What do you like about CASA?
I think CASA has done a very good job of acquitting volunteers to their roles. Many organizations lack a structured orientation.  In particular, I find the legal process associated with the foster care system to be very interesting. Observing and participating in the court system that oversees disadvantaged youths is very interesting.  

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 am not sure that I have been involved long enough with my case to have made a notable impact.  I am fortunate in that my case involves a foster child that seems to be thriving and maturing well. He faces several medical and intellectual challenges. Nonetheless, he is in the custody of a very caring foster family  and social worker. He is a loving young man who values family relationships. Unfortunately for him, there are no family members who can manage his varied medical, emotional and intellectual disabilities, thus he remains in the custody of the social welfare system. I am hopeful that I can serve as another supportive force in in the process of developing a permanency plan for the client and one that provides for an effective transition to adulthood.  Assisting in this manner has its own intrinsic rewards.  First, I enjoy the social interactions I have with the foster child and his support system.  Secondly, if my involvement contributes to making the child’s pathway to adulthood better in some small than it would otherwise have been, I will consider the time invested to have been very worthwhile and rewarding.

4. What would you tell others who are thinking about becoming a CASA volunteer?
It appears to me that CASA does an effective job in assessing the alignment of volunteers’ interests and competencies with the agency’s mission.  I would say that anyone considering becoming a CASA volunteer spend some time talking to other experienced volunteers.  Invest time in assessing what the commitment involves and whether one has a personal comfort level with those requirements.

Krista

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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.