Volunteers Make a Difference
Volunteering enables people to play an active role in their community and contribute to positive social change. At the heart of the Fourth Judicial District CASA Program are the volunteers. These individuals willingly donate their time to speak up for the children who need them the most. Appointed by the Family Court Judge, they advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. They are the lifeline and what drives the CASA program, so the question we face is: how do we sustain this vital force and keep it growing?
Sustaining a volunteer program is crucial to ensure no gaps in service. It begins with you. Word of mouth is one of the most important ways people learn about the program. Simply knowing about the program means an individual has it as an option when and if they decide to look for a way to get involved. When they do decide to get involved with Family Advocates’ CASA program, they will be met with a network of passionate and professional staff members available to provide guidance and support. They will begin their volunteer experience by receiving a solid foundation of volunteer training. All volunteers complete in-depth training to ensure they have the confidence and the tools to provide the best possible advocacy. Consistent communication via newsletters, emails, phone calls, on-line gatherings, and special events provide a connection even during these “virtual” times. Last but not least, because this work can be difficult, celebrating and recognizing outstanding efforts, outcomes, and advancements is an important part of the volunteer experience.
Growing a volunteer program means tapping into what motivates someone to do something. There’s never one single reason why we do something, and new folks come to Fourth CASA for a wide variety of reasons. There are both logical and emotional reasons why a CASA volunteer joins the cause. Some advocates will align their mission with Fourth CASA because of their passion for making a difference in children’s lives. Others will embrace the task because they bring the necessary logic to deal with complex topics objectively. Some come because they have the professional skillset to navigate through difficult situations. And some engage because they are looking for deeper meaning in their lives. Regardless of the motivating factors, becoming an advocate is an opportunity for all volunteers to grow emotionally, professionally, and intellectually.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.” In other words, take action!
Consider the recent program connection with the Basque Market. The owner was visiting some friends out of state who are CASA volunteers. When he returned, he found an email from the local CASA program randomly in his inbox. He took it as a sign to connect with the Fourth CASA Program, and now the program is the Basque Market’s “cause” for the months of March and April. To find out more about this event, click here.
There are an infinite number of possibilities when people communicate, connect, and take action. Connections are everywhere, and one can even change the trajectory of a child’s story.