My CASA Journey
I am incredibly honored to volunteer for an organization which, as demonstrated by impressive data trends, positively impacts the lives of the children we serve who are in foster care due to abuse and neglect.
I have been a CASA volunteer in the Savannah area for four years and have had the opportunity to work on 4 cases. My main focus has been with the Family Treatment Court (FTC) where I have worked with, and creating a trusting bond with, children who have come into care due to their parents’ substance abuse. Sadly, at times these children are born addicted to their mother’s drug of choice during her pregnancy. Once a parent chooses to participate with FTC, they are required to complete an 18-month program which is very involved and holds the parents accountable for the ultimate goal of full recovery for themselves, the wellbeing of their children and the opportunity for a permanent home for these children with their parents.
I have had the privilege of seeing extreme transformation of these children and their parents. Watching the family prosper right before my eyes from who they were when their children came into care to how far they have come, making completely different choices, learning how to cope during life’s challenges and staying clean and sober. This is inspiring. I am so grateful to be a positive and loving piece of the puzzle supporting their children as the parents learn how to live a new and healthier lifestyle. My personal hope is the FTC program will end the cycle of substance abuse in these families so their children could become leaders in society.
The Hard Part
Some of the challenges I have faced as a CASA are when a case is closed and I am not able to stay in touch with the children - especially when I have built a strong, trusting relationship to the point they don’t want me to leave during a home visit! Another challenge is hearing of all the children who are in care and yet there is no CASA to serve every one of them and hear their stories. In one especially moving case, I was blessed to advocate for 3 siblings who have been in and out of care for over 4 years. I have finally seen permanency for these children all with the help of a great team!!!! It really takes a village of support to ensure the safety and permanency of children.
How Helping Can Help You Too
We could always use more help!!! Becoming a volunteer is a commitment as we strive to be a positive and constant advocate which makes a life changing impact for the children we serve. My parents taught as me as a teenager the importance of volunteering and finding an organization that you are passionate about. I personally love what CASA stands for. I am extremely passionate because, as a volunteer, I have the opportunity to shed a positive light during these dark times in these children’s lives who may not have had a chance if it wasn’t for the CASA program.