You know how Jeff Gordon drives a race car.... and Keith Urban plays guitar.... and Colonel Sanders does chicken? It's just their THING. It's what they do.
Y'all, I found MY thing. It's called CASA and I can't wait to tell you more about it.
Here's the official word:
What is CASA for Children?
Every day in this country, 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die. Every day. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 951 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care or for children whose safety has been called into question by the court.
Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.
Do you know a child who is living in a meth house? Or who is being abused by her mother's boyfriend? Or who has missed 18 days of school this year because Mom just doesn't feel like waking up to take him to school? If you answered no, then you are wrong. You DO know a child in this situation because they are your neighbors. They are in your local elementary school. They may even be in your church.
At some point, if they're lucky, someone will notice that these children are living in danger and they will enter the juvenile court system. This can happen through a private custody case (such as a grandparent petitioning for custody) or through a DHR case (where the child has been removed from the home and is in foster care). That's when CASA comes in. We are appointed by the courts to help determine what is in the best interest of the child. We speakwith the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child — school, medical and case worker reports; and other documents. We compile all our information and submit a recommendation to the court as to whether it is in a child’s best interest to stay with his or her parents or guardians, be placed in foster care, be placed with other relatives, or be freed for permanent adoption.
Since CASA of North Alabama was started in November, we have advocated for 35 children. We have 9 active volunteers (and 11 more who have completed training and will be sworn in soon). These volunteers pour their heart and soul into every case. It's heartbreaking and exhilarating all at the same time. It's exhilarating because you know you are making a difference, but it's heartbreaking because you see things that just should never happen. Our volunteers become advocates, mentors, friends, and sometimes the only Jesus these children will ever see. We take them Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, school supplies... anything we see that they need. Maybe some young man needs a calculator for math class. Or a teen mom needs diapers for her baby. Or an 8-year-old can't enjoy the SNOW of the century because he doesn't have appropriate outerwear. We pay attention to those kinds of things and we FIX it. Maybe we just visit their school and eat lunch with them once a month. It may very well be the first time anybody has ever taken the time to come to school and eat with them.
I love my thing. I want to do my thing forever. And I want you to HELP me do my thing. We need funding. We are a non-profit organization and we depend on private funding to keep us afloat.
Will you consider making a donation to CASA? Any amount, no matter how small or how large, will be appreciated. To make a donation
Please note that you can make a one-time donation (GREAT!!) or a recurring monthly donation (EVEN BETTER!!). This is tax deductible for individuals and businesses. If you own a business and a need a philanthropy project, please consider CASA.
Thank you, my peeps, for all your support.