CASA of the Mid-Shore seeks vol­un­teers

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL -

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 jc@casamid­shore.org.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

CASA vol­un­teers and staff mem­bers pose with lo­cal au­thor John O’Brien (in plaid shirt) fol­low­ing a CASA book club dis­cus­sion.

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