Court Appointed Special Advocates looking for more volunteers
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Troup County hit a major milestone in November when it celebrated having enough volunteers to cover 100 percent of the children in the program.
CASA organizers said they were excited for the achievement. However, they said CASA still needs volunteers who can step up when more children need help or existing volunteers are unavailable.
“We are so excited that we have met our goal of 100 percent for our children that we have in CASA, but the reality is that our numbers fluctuate frequently from month from month to month, as well as the schedules of our volunteers,” McCutchen said. “Our volunteers are very dedicated. However, life can sometimes take twists and turns that prohibit them from meeting with the children on a monthly basis or attending court hearings when needed.”
According to Advocacy Coordinator Nicole Spafford, CASA swore in its largest group of volunteers in November, bringing the total number of volunteers to 43, and McCutchen said that while volunteers who are pulled away due to life remain active, CASA still needs volunteers to fill in the gaps.
“We always are looking for qualified volunteers that are advocates for children, that really do want to be a voice for children in court and can work with the children on a monthly basis,” McCutchen said.
She said CASA volunteers have a huge impact on the children they serve.
“Children who are in foster care’s graduation rates are 50 percent for those that do not have a CASA [volunteer], and 99 percent for those that do,” McCutchen said.
“So, I think that speaks volumes to the work that the CASAs do with the children and the commitment that they have to enriching their lives and making their lives better.”
However, she said that children aren’t the only ones whose lives are enriched by the volunteers’ efforts.
“I think that being a CASA volunteer enriches your life as much as it does the lives of the children,” McCutchen said. “So many times, I think that people want to give back to the community but really don’t know how, and a lot of times [they] don’t really see the impact of support when they offer it to large organizations. So, this gives the community the opportunity to really be hands-on in changing the lives of children, and in turn changing our community for the better in the long run.”
McCutchen said that even people who don’t have time to go through CASA training can help by volunteering to sort donations or offering in-kind donations.
CASA training will begin on Jan. 6, and will take place on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 118 Ridley Avenue in LaGrange.
For anyone unable to attend the evening trainings, CASA will provide individual training anytime Monday through Thursday.