Clergy, CASA & Community
what is clergy, casa & community?
Clergy, CASA and Community is an initiative by Texas CASA to build a network of faith communities and leaders that will champion speaking up for local children in foster care and their families. Our goal is to see communities and clergy leaders coming together to live out their calling and be a voice for the children who need them, and to develop a rich network that engages new volunteers and supporters for the CASA mission.
Faith communities are a tremendous resource that CASA programs throughout Texas can turn to. Programs can engage, activate and partner with diverse faith communities to recruit volunteers, as well as to build support for children, their parents, families, foster families and adoptive families.
Why should the faith community respond?
All are called to serve the most vulnerable.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...
(Bible -James 1:27)
You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict them in any way – for if they cry at all to Me,
I will surely hear their cry.
(Torah - Exodus 22:22-23)
“The best of the houses is the house where an orphan gets love and kindness.”
(saying of the Prophet Muhammad)
May I bring sustenance and awakening, enduring like the earth and sky, until all beings are freed from sorrow and all are awakened.
(Bodhisattva Prayer for Humanity Shantideva)
Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the quality of goodness. (Bhagavad-gita 17.20)
Children who have been removed from their homes due to allegations of abuse or neglect need advocates who will speak up for them and make sure they are safe and well.
A community speaking up for kids! Communities and clergy leaders coming together to live out their callings and be voices for those who need them.
How can your faith community get involved?
Communities of faith can support CASA and the children they serve in many ways. A critical need of all CASA programs is to recruit and train volunteers to advocate on behalf of children while they are in foster care. Your faith community can assist in this mission by hosting an information session in partnership with your local CASA program regarding how members can get involved.
Information sessions and trainings are also held virtually. CASA can tailor online events to meet the needs of your faith community in a safe and secure way.
AN EVENT OF THIS NATURE WOULD INVOLVE YOUR COMMUNITY PROVIDING:
- A space to host the meeting
- Announcements during worship, in the bulletin or newsletter or at other events about the information session
YOUR CASA PROGRAM WOULD PROVIDE:
- A Faith Outreach Team member to speak knowledgeably on the role of a CASA volunteer and the connection to your faith community
- Information on CASA volunteering and ways members can learn more
"As I embark on this effort to encourage others to serve the ministry of foster care and adoption, I’m reminded of what drives me. I have this saying, “Zeal is short-lived, but passion is permanent.” I hold on to those words because it always keeps me connected to my passion which always leads to discovering my purpose. You see, zeal has an expiration because it has an initial excitement but no willingness to go the distance. Passion will always cause others to ask, “Do you get paid to do this?” That's when you know it’s passion, because passion looks like you should be receiving a paycheck. But it’s really your passion that pays you. So, live out your passion with purpose!"
- Pastor Eric Hallback, Rock Faith Center, El Paso
Over the last two years, the Clergy and CASA Advisory Council has provided input and recommendations for guidebooks, promotional materials and training resources to inspire faith communities with the CASA mission and support them in becoming involved with local CASA programs. We have created a Faith-Based Recruitment Toolkit for Programs and a Guide to Clergy, CASA and Community for Faith Leaders. These materials will be tested by three local programs along with ongoing support and coaching from Texas CASA as part of a year-long pilot program. By piloting the initiative, we will learn and gather data that will inform a full launch of the model around the state of Texas. These programs went through an extensive application and vetting process and include Dallas CASA, CASA of Denton County and East Texas CASA.
clergy, CASA & Community: A call for faith leaders
The Faith Leader Guide was designed as a printable leave behind tool to share with a faith leader that has expressed an interest or commitment to partnering with CASA.
clergy, CASA & Community: A GUIDE TO FAITH-BASED RECRUITMENT FOR CASA PROGRAMS
The CASA Program Guide was designed to help local CASA programs develop an understanding of the culture of a diverse group of faith communities and tools and tricks for partnering effectively.
"Even though the work of a CASA volunteer can be demanding, it exceeds everything that we go around doing every day. You find a purpose to serve this community which you are a part of. I often think of the Prophet Mohammed’s saying – “The best in the sight of your Lord are those who are most beneficial to each other.” I’ve become a lifetime supporter of CASA and more sensitive to the needs of others who cannot help themselves, because of being an advocate. My faith emphasis has been to be a social activist and a catalyst for change. This experience taught me how big of a difference you make in a child’s life, which will impact them for life."
- Syed Masood, Dallas CASA Volunteer