Next to being a mom, being a CASA is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. To start at the beginning of a case when there are so many questions and concerns, to the very end, whether it's adoption or reunification, to see a child safe, happy and loved is the goal. Knowing that you were the voice of a child, you stepped out of your comfort zone (it can be hard when you see something one way and everyone else sees it another way), it can be challenging. Then at adoption, it's that hug from the new adoptive daddy or shared tears with the biological mom regaining custody after a long road, that you step back and say, "Wow, I made a difference".
I am married with two children (one a very active 4 year old!), have a full time career, a home, pets and I volunteer with another organization. How do I do it? I'm not sure, but I know there are children out there who need to be heard and God has given me the voice for them. What do I want to gain by being a CASA? I want to hear from my Maker, "Well done, my good and faithful servant", Matthew 25:21. After all, the closest thing to Heaven is a child!
~ CASA Volunteer since 2008
Being a CASA has been a real eye-opener! There are far too many children in our local area being removed from their homes due to situations of abuse and neglect. When I hear the details of why a child has come into the system the reasons break my heart, and each story seems worse than the last. The kids are who suffer, their lives get turned upside down with a new place to live (or multiple placements), new school, therapists and doctors, caseworkers, etc. As a CASA I am the constant face the child continues to see as we build trust, support, and friendship together until their case is resolved. These reasons are what compelled me to become a CASA volunteer. I can provide a independent voice in court to assure that the child’s best interest are served and they can have a safe, loving and permanent home.
My family and friends were skeptical that I might not have the time to devote to the program because I currently work full-time as a financial advisor, have a husband and two teenage boys who are very involved in sports and am very active in several networking groups. However, I believe you make time for the things in life that you feel strongly about. I witness the positive benefits that the program provides and feel very committed to helping save a child one step at a time. Not only is it a positive experience for the children for whom I advocate, but being a CASA has had a profound impact on my own life. I am more patient with my own children, I have a better understanding of the challenges facing other parents and the child welfare system, and have gained an education into our local legal system.
~ CASA Volunteer since 2008
Being a CASA has given me the opportunity to make a rewarding contribution to children and families well-being following my retirement from family intervention work. The office staff have always been helpful and non-critical of any questions or requests for help from them and calmed many of my fears about this volunteer work and especially my own ongoing anxieties about writing court reports. Personally, I have never hesitated to call or stop in the office to talk over a family status because the CASA staff has been so accommodating and willing to listen and offer suggestions. One incident I will always remember as the answer to "why do you do this" regarding my regular participation as an observer at supervised visits. The 5 year old told her parents and her supervising caseworker that she "felt safer at a visit" when I was there. So being a CASA volunteer is one way to help children feel safer and a little more secure in what is often a confusing time in their lives.
~ CASA Volunteer since 2009
My experience as a CASA has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life, next to life with my own children and husband. From the day my husband brought me home the flier advertising CASA, to my first meeting with the Executive Director, then training, and off I went to start my cases. Scary, yes, but being part of something bigger than myself, outside the walls of just me and my family, helping children who are hurting, who are in need, is more of a gift than I could have ever asked for, and the gift wasn’t meant for me!
It is easy to have the motivation and the warm fuzzy feeling to start the process of becoming a CASA. Going through the muck and mud, the good the bad and the ugly, the scary parts, the happy parts, is what it is all about. There are sacrifices, driving time, court reports, time in court, and meetings with several different people, hard phone calls to make, and the reality of the horrible things these children have had to endure. However, when you can look into the eyes of a child that has experienced pain and hardship that should never have been bestowed upon them, and know that you could be strength to them, peace to them, comfort to them, and most importantly a voice, it is the highest honor and most overwhelming feeling. It’s not all frills and lace, it is a journey with ups and downs but becoming a CASA is answering the great commission Jesus laid out for us, to help the hurting. God goes with me to my visits, into the courtroom, and is my strength through the whole process, and in that way, He is also using us to bless these children who need us!
~ CASA Volunteer since 2010
I have been a CASA volunteer for five years and was a member of the first class of volunteers. Having volunteered for a number of organizations, especially since retiring in 2006, My experience with CASA has been the most rewarding because it is on behalf of abused and/or neglected children in Westmoreland County. I have now been assigned my fourth case as my three previous cases have been closed following adoptions. Please consider becoming a CASA volunteer. After 30 hours of training, your initial commitment will be to see one case through completion whether that be the primary goal of the child returning to the family or adoption. Please search your heart and commit to one case. The rewards are great!
~ CASA Volunteer since 2007