Children navigating the legal system and procedures need someone to speak on their behalf, hold their hand throughout the proceedings and provide comfort, reassurance, protection and advocacy during the entire process. This is where a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer comes in. CASA volunteers are willing to make a powerful and positive impact in a child’s life in that they advocate for the best interests of the child. When a case is assigned to a CASA volunteer, from beginning to end, the advocate is there for that case. Advocates are at least 21 years of age and must pass annual criminal background checks. They must also have good verbal and written communication skills, possess the capability to remain objective and non-judgemental and be available to attend court hearings. CASA also needs their volunteers to make a commitment to the program for at least one year, or until permanency is achieved. A CASA volunteer changes the lives of children on a daily basis, and right now they are in need of more volunteers.
There is a formal 30-hour training program, some in-class and some independent study, to empower and equip the volunteers to serve. If approved, and once trained, volunteer advocates are sworn in by a judge and qualified to be assigned a case by the court.
CASA of North Sand Mountain, serving the children of Jackson and DeKalb counties, is also a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, meaning all donations are tax-deductible. It also means that while they have been given a grant to supplement operations, the rest of their funding will come from donations or fundraising. CASA of NSM has established the Facebook group, Hope’s Circle, a “group of individuals coming together to raise funds for CASA of NSM. Funds raised go toward the day-to-day costs of operations.”
Want to know more or contribute? Find Hope’s Circle on Facebook or contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope’s Circle will be meeting at Fyffe Town Park on July 11th at 12 p.m. Stop by and see what it’s all about.
If you’re interested in donating to CASA of NSM or training to become an advocate, contact Kelly at, email@example.com or call her at 205-478-8389. You can also find out more at www.alabamacasa.org.