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Change a child's life

I volunteered to be a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for foster children because I wanted to give back. I wanted to make a difference. My spouse and I had raised our own children, no grand children yet, I wanted to interact with children.

So I volunteered. I took the classes, some of classes I was familiar with from my career as a Registered Nurse. Other parts were less familiar. For example who can really define Minimum Adequate Parenting?

But I knew I could change one child, one family. So I volunteered. Since 2017 over 10 children that were in foster care have had me as their CASA. I have gone hiking, bowling, to McDonalds, museums, parks, libraries, movies and more with these kids. During that time I hoped to give them a view of the world of opportunities. To foster a desire for something better in their life.

I think I did that. One of my first teen children, I'll call her Juniper. Juniper was 16, had run away, also had used drugs, and her mother really wanted to be more involved with a boyfriend than a needy teen. Juniper's father was on the streets somewhere. She had no one. She was also a musician, an artist, and scared of her future. We talked about art, education, boys and men, getting a job, having children and more.

Juniper was amazed that I was a volunteer: "You don't get paid!?!" I explained what a CASA did: Look at all aspects of the case; get to know the child (almost an adult in this case); learn about her school performance, her home life, her desires. Then as a CASA I write a report to the court, making factual statements about the child and her situation. I would ask Juniper what she wanted to share with the court, and put her words in my report. After the factual report, I would add my opinion of what is best for that kid, Juniper in this case.

I volunteered. Juniper aged out, she was able to continue living in a group setting and had started her first job--as a barista. She saw a future and had the desire to attain it.

Would you volunteer?

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