As the holiday season rolls around, many people are buying gifts for family, friends and loved ones. Children everywhere look forward to receiving gifts. This holiday season, CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southeast Missouri, Inc.), asks that you donate the most precious gift to an abused or neglected child: a voice.
Since CASA opened its doors in Southeast Missouri, hundreds of children have benefited from the active voice of a CASA volunteer. There are over 250 children in care in the 32nd Judicial Circuit each year. Of these children, about one-third has a well-trained CASA volunteer to speak on their behalf. Although these figures are impressive, CASA of Southeast Missouri has the potential to expand. Volunteers are needed to assure that every child in care has a CASA representing them in court.
Volunteers are the most important aspect of CASA. They dedicate time and effort to assure that abused and neglected children receive proper services. There are 30 volunteers who currently make a difference in these children's life.
CASA volunteers are attracted in various ways. Some discover CASA online or in newspapers while others hear about CASA from other CASA volunteers or on talk shows such as Dr. Phil.
One of the greatest outcomes of being a CASA is "being present for children and their families," said a CASA volunteer. "I like the fact that CASA was one of the few non-profit/volunteer programs that require an in-depth training. It was pleasing to find an organization that invests time in their volunteers. I also enjoy knowing that as a CASA, I would have a direct opportunity to work with the child and be their voice. To me that was powerful."