BY JERÉ ANTHONY
I believe that people are inherently good. I believe that, generally, most people want to help others in some capacity. I also believe that many people don’t think that they have the proper resources to make the leap to be a volunteer. I am privileged to work for a program that gives everyday citizens a platform to make a life changing impact in the lives of foster children. Not all volunteering looks the same, but for our program the same 5 qualities are true for every Advocate.
Reliable. Our Advocates show up when they say they are going to and for a child that has been moved around tirelessly, being able to rely on one person can make all of the difference. Our Advocates vow during their training to make face to face contact with their CASA child(ren) at least once and month and 99.9% of them actually do it.
Passionate. Volunteers seek out the CASA program for many different reasons. Some have personal stories of overcoming abuse and want to walk with a child through that season and others simply want to prevent abuse from occurring again by playing a role in the child’s story. Speaking up about the child’s placement will directly impact the child’s life no matter which way the ruling goes. No matter the motive, all of our Advocates are passionate about helping children find safe, permanent homes and doing so as quickly as possible because they know that foster care should never be a permanent situation.
Team Players. Advocates interact with key players in the child’s life and reach out to many different people to find resources for the child. Our Advocates do an amazing job of maintaining relationships with social workers and keeping the lines of communication open for all parties involved in the case. We have learned that when communication is strong, the process moves much smoother and our success in those relationships can directly be attributed to our Advocates.
Energetic. How many people do you know who set aside 8-10+ hours a month to do something for somebody else? Many of our Advocates work full time jobs and carve out the time from their personal lives each month. To say that these wonderful people are energetic is quite an understatement. They are making a choice to pour into someone else by giving their scarcest resource: their time.
Movers and Shakers. Our Advocates are the kind of people who are actually doing the work to make a difference. They aren’t sitting around thinking about ways to help or waiting for the right sign to come along to convict them… they all make a choice to start, which is always the first step in making a difference.
Our program only works if we have strong, selfless people like this who go out and do the work to help the abused and neglected children that we serve. We cannot do this work alone and are so grateful to have such dedicated volunteers as representatives in our community. I am proud to work for an organization that is fanning the flame of volunteerism and changing the way people see philanthropy. The truth is that anybody can do this work… but will you take the first step?
Our next volunteer training begins July 20. I encourage you to invite someone to attend. Call us today at 398-0945 and learn more.
BY JERÉ ANTHONY
One of my favorite things about the CASA program are the paydays. Since this program is driven by volunteers it may surprise you to hear the word payday, but my view is that paydays come when children overcome their time in the Foster Care system and are finally placed into their safe, permanent homes.
For a 9 year old little boy, the road has been long and hard. The child came into care when he was only 6 years old, along with 2 sisters. Their teachers reported the claim after the children repeatedly showed up for school dirty and hungry. As a result of the neglect, the children were removed from the home.
BY JERÉ ANTHONY
They are broken. They are dysfunctional. They are real. Their stories are inspiring and have shattered my preconceived ideas of what a family is supposed to look like. I have cried and sobbed and had to pick myself up while my husband confusingly asked me, “Are you going to be ok? You know this is just a show right?” The show that I am talking about is the show that everyone is talking about, This is Us. If you haven’t watched it, I’ll try not to ruin any surprises.
The show’s plot follows a family focusing on each member’s individual journey following them back and forth between their past and present. We are able to understand each character fully because viewers are constantly seeing flashbacks of each characters backstory. This technique is really brilliant and allows characters to develop more quickly and helps us to get to know what really makes them tick