What It Means to be a CASA
If you are looking for a meaningful and impactful way of giving back to your community, there is no better organization to volunteer with than Monroe County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). As a CASA volunteer, you’ll become an important representative for children who otherwise might have a voice in court. Your volunteering can make a difference in a child’s life by bringing them hope and consistency in a world that often does not.
CASA volunteers are members of the community who give their time and energy to advocate for abused and neglected children involved in the legal system. They are not necessarily attorneys or child specialists (although some are), but are a diverse group of citizens who are genuinely concerned about their community and the safety of children. Through their service, Monroe County CASA volunteers broaden their own experiences and are able to have a positive impact on others.
CASA Volunteers Share Their Experiences
In a recent interview, a Bloomington CASA volunteer explained why she chose to be a CASA volunteer over other opportunities: “I am passionate about advocating for children and I wanted to make a true difference.” The reward for that passion: “I have changed the direction of these children’s lives by giving them someone to trust and confide in, and then advocating on behalf of their best interest to everyone included in the case.”
Going through the court system can be intimidating and frightening for children without support, but with a Monroe County CASA volunteer by their side, the experience can be less scary. Children and families from all over Monroe County benefit from having an impartial, but caring and sympathetic ear to their difficulties and situations. As a CASA volunteer so aptly said: “Having a relationship with a CASA volunteer means that the child has a safe space and someone in their corner. The CASA volunteer ensures the child feels listened to, cared for, and understood. This is invaluable because many times it is the first time a child has felt these things.”
What Does It Take to Be a CASA?
There is an immediate need for CASA volunteers in Monroe County. It is a great volunteer opportunity for a person who loves and cares for children. As a CASA volunteer recently stated: “There isn’t a way to describe the difference you could make in a child’s life. Being a CASA volunteer does not require any special education or background, simply the desire to help children who have experienced abuse or neglect find safe, permanent homes.”
There is a time commitment to be a Monroe County CASA volunteer. The volunteer period is approximately two years, or the life of a case, in order to provide some stability and continuity for the child. The educational and emotional experience is well worth the sacrifice as one CASA volunteer states: “A CASA volunteer in the courtroom is absolutely crucial at every hearing because generally, the CASA volunteer knows the child and the placement better than anyone in the room. This adds value for a child going through this experience because the CASA volunteer is their voice and can be there to represent their best interest.”
Even if you cannot volunteer to be a Monroe County CASA there are ways you can help the organization to grow and improve: 1) Join one of the many Monroe County CASA committees, 2) Follow Monroe County CASA on Facebook and Instagram 3) Make a donation to CASA 4) Encourage anyone who you think would be a good candidate to visit the Monroe County CASA website.
Written by: Jeremy Hunt