Winnebago County CASA speaks up for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering our community to volunteer as advocates for them in the court system
As I left the CASA office as the Training and Retention Coordinator I was presented with a parting gift. It was a bracelet made of tiny golden hearts with one heart inscribed with the numbers 69 and 251. Jillisa stated that they were for the advocates that I had trained and taken a case and the children that they have served... so far.
Needless to say there wasn't a dry eye in the office and to be honest tears are being shed as I write this. Why? Because each one of us matter. Sometimes we forget that. Each one of us has the heart to serve but how do we? Do we realize the impact of our actions?
Let me give you some examples. One advocate said "When you make a commitment, you must fulfill it". She did that by being Advocate Rep, serving on committees, coming and supporting CASA events, attending in- services and support groups. Oh and being an advocate for over 25 years and serving 80 some children. Commitment.
Another advocate visits her children multiple times a week because that's what that family needed. When the case closed, the children went back to their father and the family was reunited the CASA was told that this wouldn't have been possible without her help. Dedication.
After working with one of our toughest cases one of the children had an extremely bad meltdown. During this time the child told the advocate that she hated her and never wanted to see her again. Undeterred the advocate respected her wishes but continues to advocate for the family with another advocate. Perseverance. Humility.
There are so many little and big things that happen to our children and their advocates that never get shared. That no one knows. In the office we talk about the silent CASAs that go about their CASA work and never ask nor want recognition for what they do. Well I want to tell you that we see you. We appreciate you. Your visits, phone calls, reports, time sheets mattered. So never just think 'I'm a new CASA ' or 'I've only had this 1 kid'. Each interaction you have with someone while doing your CASA work has an impact.
Commitment. Dedication. Perseverance. Humility. CASA. Capes on.
“The CASA volunteer becomes the constant in the child’s life, building a relationship with the child and or children. Through many hours spent with family, schools, medical providers, and of course the child, the CASA begins to formulate a picture of what is in ‘The Best Interest of the Child.’”