Most who know me IRL know that I am extremely passionate about children, family and youth. When is the last time that you stood up for a child? Our daily news is often littered with offense after offense committed against children. Thank goodness for the many organizations and people who are willing to speak up for society’s most vulnerable citizens. One such organization has my eternal support:
The National CASA Association is a network of close to 1,000 programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings to ensure they are placed in safe, loving and permanent homes as quickly as possible. A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is appointed by a judge to provide an informative report and recommendations that will assist the judge in making important decisions in a child’s life.
Each year more than 700,000 children experience foster care. CASA volunteers are often the consistent adult presence involved in a child’s case. Our country’s overburdened child welfare system, although well-intentioned, is often ill-equipped to effectively focus on the individual needs of each of these children. CASA bridges this gap through the committed involvement of volunteers from the community who advocate for the child’s best interest.
Locally, CASA, Prince George’s County and CASA for Children of DC are near and dear to my heart. Behind these two organizations are hundreds of everyday heroes, people like you and me, that are making a noticeable difference for children and youth in foster care. A former employee and lifetime volunteer, I have personally witnessed the positive impact that these Everyday Heroes have on the children, family, system and community.
Want to know more? Don’t fret, Everyday Sunshine will be a new series in which I will highlight some of the amazing work being done by CASA volunteers, the resilience of children and youth in foster care and the hard work of the staff that makes it happen.
In the meantime, be sure to visit CASA, Prince George’s County to find out more about how you can make a difference in the life of a child in Prince George’s County, Maryland. CASA, Prince George’s County will be holding an information session for those who want to learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer on Thursday, January 5, 2012 from 6-7:30pm at the Hyattsville Municipal Building. For more info please visit them on the web at www.pgcasa.org .
For those of you in DC, checkout CASA for Children of DC, who in addition to traditional CASA volunteers, also recruits and trains volunteers to serve as mentors for youth in foster care. The Building Up Dynamic and Determined Youth (B.U.D.D.Y. Initiative) serves children in the DC foster care system by providing positive adult mentors, without interaction with their Family Court case. CASA for Children of DC ‘s next volunteer training begins on Tuesday, January 24th. Classes will take place each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. through February 9th. Training is held at the DC Superior Court. For more info please visit them on the web at www.casadc.org .
Not in the DMV? Visit www.casaforchildren.org to find the CASA program in your area. Not sure you’re able to volunteer? All three non-profit organizations are always in need of donations as well.
What better way to start the new year than by standing up for a child!
Have you ever heard of CASA? Do you volunteer in your community? Leave your sunshine below.