CASA of the Mid-Shore seeks volunteers
EASTON — CASA of the Mid-Shore is looking for people who want to volunteer their time by becoming a child’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer) for children who are under court protection due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or their parents’ inability to safely care for them.
CASA volunteers are officers of the court appointed to speak up for one child at a time in courts, in schools and in communities to help them find safe, permanent and loving homes.
They make assessments and recommendations to judges regarding the best interests of children, attempting to identify the specific needs of their appointed children, advocating for service provision to meet those needs, and assisting in seeking a permanent resolution for each child’s life as quickly and safely as possible.
Most importantly, CASA volunteers get to know their appointed children, nurture trust, cultivate hope, often become one of the most consistent adults in the child’s life.
“In doing so, CASA volunteers give children the message that their lives are worthwhile, and that sparks hope for their future,” CASA of the Mid-Shore stated in a press release. “CASA volunteers are for the child who has been abused, who doesn’t want to go home, the child who no longer believes in herself; for the child who has been neglected, who doesn’t know where her next meal is coming from; for the child who must be the parent to his siblings.”
“CASA volunteers are for the child who was taken away for her own protection; the child who is now in foster care; who doesn’t know who these people are or how long she’ll be there. They are for the child who’s lived in five foster homes in a single year; who’s attended six schools in four years; who sits in back of yet another classroom surrounded by strangers; and for the child who one day becomes an adult member of our local community.”
Following screening and pre-service training, CASA of the Mid-Shore staff provides ongoing guidance, support, supervision and training to CASA volunteers. One such in-service training focused on a recent book club discussion of local author John O’Brien’s memoir titled “Semisweet: An Orphan’s Journey Thought the School the Hersheys Built.”
Twenty-five people participated in a frank discussion of children’s need for advocacy, which O’Brien summed up by saying, “Adversity becomes strength when paired with an advocate.”
CASA of the Mid-Shore currently is accepting applications from prospective volunteers who want to have a positive impact on local children in communities. CASA’s pre-service training classes begin in early October, so those who want to make a positive, lasting difference are encouraged to request an application packet now.
For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer for children in Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties, or to receive an application packet, call Volunteer Coordinator Jane Crawford at 410-822-2866 ext. 6 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASA volunteers and staff members pose with local author John O’Brien (in plaid shirt) following a CASA book club discussion.