By Vicki Spriggs
Chief Executive Officer of Texas CASA
Being a CASA volunteer is no easy task. Often referred to as the premier, volunteer opportunity in the country, the role of a CASA can be challenging. Although some of the top volunteer organizations do great work and have wonderful volunteers, the difference with CASA is that our volunteers do not have a formal education or specific background.
What they do have is the heart and the passion to help children in the child welfare system. They are ordinary men and women doing extraordinary work during a critical time in the life of a child.
When I think about the more than 10,000 CASA volunteers across Texas, there are key words that jump out to me.
Dedicated – CASA volunteers commit to serve on a case for at least one year. During this time, they regularly meet with the child as well as everyone involved in his or her daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, daycare providers, doctors, lawyers, social workers and other relevant persons. Their commitment is to ensure that the child they serve has the right resources needed to thrive and grow during their time in care and it never wavers.
Fierce – CASA volunteers stand tall in court and other settings to make sure that their CASA child’s voice and needs are addressed. CASA is there to keep the best interest of the child first and foremost as the case progresses.
Resourceful – CASA volunteers receive more than 30 hours of training before being assigned a case. They learn to navigate the child welfare system so that the children and families they work with do not have to face challenges alone.
What comes to your mind when you read these characteristics? Or more importantly who comes to mind? Is there someone in your life that exemplifies these values?
Even with the recruitment efforts of the local CASA programs and our statewide awareness campaign, the number one reason people become a volunteer is still word of mouth or that they were asked. That’s why we need you. You have the power to keep the CASA momentum moving forward.
Last year, the CASA network in Texas served a little over half of the children in care – meaning if every current volunteer brought just one friend to become a volunteer, every child in care would have a CASA.
Now is the time that if you know someone who has what it takes to be a CASA, let them know. With our Nominate a CASA campaign, it has never been easier. Through our website, you can send a personalized nomination to nominate that special someone in your life to become a CASA volunteer.
Being a CASA volunteer is a special opportunity and a gift for the children that are served and especially for the volunteers themselves. You can share that gift while also letting the people in your life know how wonderful you think they are.
Think of that person that is dedicated, fierce, resourceful, passionate and ready to be a CASA – will you take that step and nominate them? Every child has a chance – it’s you!
If you are not currently involved with CASA, I ask you today to consider how you can play a part in making a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children. Are you ready to take the first step towards becoming a CASA volunteer? Visit BecomeACASA.org to learn how you can speak up for a child who needs you. You can also support the work of Texas CASA by making a secure online gift that will benefit the local CASA volunteer advocacy programs across the state.