>Off the Beaten Path>Another New Year Resolution Set In Motion...
I made a few this year. One of which is to run 1000 miles this year. Another one is to do charity work. I tried to volunteer for the Interfaith Food Bank to drive groceries to families in need but they politely declined stating they have enough volunteers. OK.
So I read in the local paper that the county is in dire need of "Court Appointed Special Advocates" where an individual is assigned to a child by the court to be a "big brother/sister" so to speak. The children are often wards of the court or in family situations that are less than ideal. The CASA is there for the child to offer support and guidance and reports on a regular basis to the the court on the child's well being.
I'm excited and in speaking with the program director, I get the impression that they desperately need volunteers as he wants to get me into training ASAP.
Good luck Dave. Being a CASA volunteer can be difficult & emotionally draining. Here's hoping for a positive outcome for the child you will be representing.
Thanks Sugnim, have you been one in the past? When I lived in South Lake Tahoe, I "took in" a few teenagers whose parents had pretty much washed their hands of. One was in quite a bit of trouble and I was informally recognized by the court as his guardian. I took him to his appointments (court, probation, drug tests) and reported to the court when asked. He was a handful for sure, but I got him out of trouble, managed to keep him out of jail for drug violations, and set him on the right path. A few of the kids just had parents who were either raging alcoholics, addicts, or both and didn't care for the children. I took these kids in and kinda showed them how a family works. We sat down at dinner together, we went grocery shopping together, chores...etc.
That was all informal, but this will be "for the record", so I'm excited but a bit nervous too.
I have not been one, but I worked with someone who was a CASA representing the voice of a baby in an awful case. She frequently lost sleep over the case & often returned from testifying in court in tears. It's a stressful, but unfortunately necessary job.
And yes, it's unfortunate that it is necessary. My life/outlook has changed so profoundly lately that I feel compelled to give something back. Maybe I can help a child, ya know. Maybe after I'm dead and buried someone out there might say something like "I knew a man once who helped me a lot..."
That would be a nice legacy I think.
Well, here's an update...
Apparently, I'm not wanted. They loved the fact that I have cared for many troubled teens. They loved the fact that I have been recognized by the courts as a caregiver. But here's the kicker...
Before I wasted anyone's time, I went in and met with the coordinator and director of the program. I told them that I am a very vocal advocate of medical marijuana within the county and I have voiced my opinions on the matter at numerous Board of Supervisors meetings and I have been published in the local papers. I was met with a pause and then asked "Are you able to separate your ideology from what the court demands?" To which I referred to how I took one of my charges to his probation appointments, took him to his drug testing, court dates, etc...so "yes".
That was 8 days ago. They haven't called me since. Kinda too bad. They said they were in dire need of CASAs who could deal with teenage boys as they're the hardest...and that is precisely where my direct experience is in. Their loss I suppose, but I felt compelled to tell them where I stood in my philosophy so no "surprises" would arise should I get involved in more county related issues.