My CASA Experience…
I think everyone at some point in childhood has felt their family was dysfunctional, not like their friends family or that they had the worst parents ever. I know I felt those things at times. However, I’ve never had a day in my life that I didn’t feel loved or cared for by my parents/family. That is a blessing that not everyone experiences.
One of my dreams growing up was to be a dad, and I was blessed with three children. As our children grew up and left home to pursue their own dreams – I thought – now what? What am I to do with my time? What purpose do I have now? I realized I was an empty nester. I had heard of the impact that an empty nest can have on moms, but never thought it would have such an impact on me – a dad. I began involving myself in activities / hobbies, but still felt a void – a lack of purpose. Then one Sunday at church we had a quest speaker from CASA. They detailed their program of support and said they needed more volunteers. It hit me – “this is it”. This is what I can do to help fill that void for myself and maybe be of benefit to a child.
I first heard of CASA several years ago – one of my neighbors worked for CASA. I knew the CASA organization advocated for children in foster care, but knew nothing of the volunteers that were involved. I decided to explore the opportunities available through CASA, and I became a CASA volunteer approximately 4 years ago. Since that time I have had the pleasure of spending time with a 16 year old boy who was thrown out of his home by his mom’s boyfriend at age 14, never knew his father and had no known relatives or friends of the family. I have had the pleasure of watching this young man graduate from high school and get a job. He now lives in another state, but we still stay in touch occasionally.
I have had other opportunities to be part of the process that reunited children with their families, and I am currently advocating for a young man who was abandoned by his family at the age of 9. His 14th birthday is coming up soon.
Being a CASA volunteer has at times brought about the high emotions of success, and on occasion the difficult emotions of watching a child struggle. However, the reward of being involved in a program that is making a difference in a child’s life helps bring meaning to my life. I would recommend the CASA volunteer experience to everyone.
Steve Brown, Volunteer
CASA / Voices for Children