In January 2017, we had 18 volunteer advocates. Now, going into January 2019, we have 44.
Both the strength and challenge of the CASA model is that one CASA volunteer is appointed to one case and one child or sibling group. Research has shown that a child’s trauma is positively affected when there is one caring, compassionate, consistent adult present in that child’s life. So having a CASA is a huge benefit to a child in need, but we’re often only able to reach one child at a time.
While we are now able to provide more children with a CASA than we were two years ago, there are still 440 children in Luzerne County foster care placement because of abuse or neglect.
Author Pam Leo summed up the responsibility we all share when it comes to this most vulnerable group of our society.
“Either we spend time meeting children’s emotional needs by filling their cup with love or we spend time dealing with behaviors caused from their unmet needs,” she said. “Either way we spend the time.”
Filling a child’s cup sometimes takes a village. For the children in our program, we rely on many people to make that difference.
Our staff, Board of Directors, donors and community partners, and our 44 volunteer advocates each play a role. And each one is necessary and so appreciated.
We can clearly see the difference this program is making in the lives of four children we are currently serving.
These children came to CASA because their parents were unable to properly care for them on even a basic level. They weren’t being fed regularly, they weren’t receiving proper education or medical treatment. They needed, and deserved, more.
Two of our volunteer advocates stepped in and the difference they have made is beyond noticeable.
These four children are now living and thriving with a loving foster family. They are receiving the services they need. They’re happy, clean, fed, and loved. They have the hope of a future.
Their foster family believes so strongly in CASA that they have become supporters of the program, recently donating games, books, and toys for other children CASA is currently serving.
They have even expressed interest in becoming volunteer advocates themselves when their schedules allow.
None of this would be possible without the convergence of people in our community who believe in CASA’s mission. The people who give their time, their funds, and their energy – each one plays a pivotal role in the lives of these children.
How do you place monetary value on the joy of a better life? How you do calculate the cost of showing a child who has lived in pain and fear that they do, in fact, have a future?
Pam Leo has it right. Either way we spend. As this year comes to a close, we want to thank each of you for your support – however you’ve shown it. Those who dedicate a piece of their own lives to empower the lives of children know that investing in these children now means a better future for us all. Our program continues to grow and it’s because of all of you.
If you’ve been contemplating becoming an advocate, we invite you to join us at one of two info sessions scheduled for January – January 7 at 5 p.m. and January 22 at 5 p.m. There are 440 children in the Luzerne County foster system who are waiting for someone to give them a voice. Who better than you?