Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Making a Difference, Part II

Imagine you are a child who finds yourself in court; the victim of abuse or neglect... in the company of a judge, attorneys, social workers... all strangers. You are scared; your world has been turned upside down. You are alone.
This is the reality abused children face all the time. Far too many children have never slept in a warm bed, had clean clothes to wear, nutritious food to eat, or someone to hug. That's where CASA comes in. We provide one-to-one advocacy to help prevent children from "falling through the cracks."
Our trained volunteers advocate for abused children in court, assuring that they are placed in safe, nurturing homes where they will flourish. We speak for children who would otherwise have no voice, giving unconditional love, ensuring that each child receives the needed services to heal.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) speaks for children in court because all children have a right to live in a safe, healthy and secure environment.

It is time for CASA's annual Kidwalk. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers who are advocating for abused and neglected children. When children are removed from their homes by Child Welfare Services due to abuse or neglect, they become part of an overburdened system. Lawyers, social workers, and foster parents have serveral cases and kids competing for their time and attention. A CASA gets to focus on just one child. CASA is an amazing organization that helps children who were not fortunate to be born into good homes. It is an amazing way to make a difference once a year to the life of a child. If you would like to help go to http://www.firstgiving.com/pamiorg2008. The children, and I appreciate your help!!


A true story of one child helped by CASA:


My name is Sarah. When I was seven years old, my father didn't come home enough to care for me and my little sister Maggie. I fed Maggie and dressed her for pre-school, gave her baths and put her to sleep at night. Maggie was only four years old. When there was food, we ate macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and when there wasn't I would have to ask the neighbors for food. But even this was better than it had been before we'd been taken away from our Mom. She would use a lot of drugs everyday and pass-out and there were always people at our house that weren't safe for Maggie and me. My sister and I were taken away from our father and for two years, I could barely speak to anyone. I felt so alone, but my CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, Victoria, stuck with me and, over time, helped me to find my voice again. Victoria went to court with me and visited every week, traveling as far as Crescent City to not miss our time together.
She helped me not be afraid at night anymore and, for a time, was the nicest person in my life. After five years of foster homes and eleven moves, Victoria, my CASA, was still there, happily helping me adjust to my new adopted parents and a new safe and stable home where I could have a life just like other kids. Maggie also found a home where she grew up. I don't see her very often, but sometimes we exchange emails.I don't see Victoria anymore. I don't need to. She helped me to be strong and today I am married to a wonderful man and we have a beautiful baby girl of our own. Without my CASA I don't know how I would have made it through those years – I'm just glad CASA was there and I didn't have to find out.

2 comments:

Rachon & Jared to the Max said...

Pam, are you a CASA? What a way to make a difference. Just last night I was watching this documentary called "Children Underground". It's about homeless children in Romania. I was sobbing and sobbing. I feel like I won the parent lottery; I wish I could do more for those who didn't. I wonder if there is a CASA chapter out here in Riverside? I'll have to check into it. Thanks for the post!

Mike said...

THat is such a touching story. Its neat to see people like you really care and make a voice.