By Vicki Spriggs
Chief Executive Officer of Texas CASA
I often wrap up Texas CASA staff meetings with the phrase “Go forth and do great things.” It’s my way of making sure each and every staff member leaves the meeting reinvigorated, conscious that their efforts make a difference, and recommitted to our vision.
It’s easy to feel inspired to “go forth and do great things” on the good days. But the fact is, we’re still in the middle of a challenging time for child welfare in Texas, and with more confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect, more removals, and overall, more children entering state care, sometimes we need to be reminded of the fact that the work we are all doing is making a difference.
So, with Child Abuse Prevention Month right around the corner, I’d like us all to take a moment to reground ourselves, and refocus on the power of the CASA movement – because to me, the most important step towards reaching our vision of a safe, positive future for all Texas children is believing that we can.
Together, we are making a real difference for our most vulnerable children, one CASA volunteer and one child at a time.
CASA volunteers are the heart and soul of our movement. They get to know the children they serve personally and ensure they are safe during their time in care. Volunteers also provide a consistent, reliable adult presence that they can open up to and trust during a difficult time in their lives – teaching them the power of positive relationships and helping them begin the healing process.
By showing children that they are more than their circumstances and helping them on their journey towards becoming successful, happy adults, CASA volunteers are playing an integral part in breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect for future generations.
Last year, more than 10,000 of these extraordinary volunteers made a difference in the lives of more than 29,700 Texas children, giving them a better chance at a brighter future. I take heart in the fact that positive change is happening, one volunteer and one child at a time.
More CASA volunteers are speaking up for more children than ever before, and each and every one of you has played a part in making that happen.
Our statewide volunteer ranks grew by a record 14 percent in 2017, nearly twice the rate from the previous year.
Maybe you’re one of those volunteers, or a CASA staff member supporting them along the way. Or maybe you’re a program board member or an executive director, leading the way for CASA in your local community. Or maybe you volunteer a few hours of your week doing administrative work, helping things run more smoothly at your local CASA office. No matter what your role with CASA may be, your unique talents, expertise and passion have been essential to getting us where we are today.
The statewide CASA community is growing faster and stronger than ever before, and if we continue to work as a united movement, I know we can can grow to provide a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one.
So go forth and do great things!
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.