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CASA Las Vegas – Volunteer – Keith Wingate

April is national volunteer month which is dedicated to honoring all the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism. Consider donating your time and contributing support to organizations making an impact, such as Casa Las Vegas, a court appointed special advocate program that supports and promotes volunteer advocacy for abused & neglected children so they can thrive in a safe and permanent home.

Jennifer Page – CASA Volunteer & Board President – Champions for CASA Las Vegas (00:28) CASA Las Vegas is a court run program. It’s part of the eighth Judicial Court system. And they promote advocacy for children living in foster care. Their goal is to provide safe and permanent homes for children living in foster care in southern Nevada.

Keith Wingate – Volunteer – CASA Las Vegas (00:40) My role as a CASA volunteer is to basically be a quarterback of care for children who are in the foster care system. It is a situation opportunity for me to actually leverage my relationships with the courts, the teachers, the health care providers and the parents to make whatever decisions that need to be made on behalf of the children who are in care to do what is in the best interest for the child.

JP (1:03)  Volunteers are incredibly important to the CASA program. So Casa Las Vegas is really all about volunteer advocacy. So what we do is we recruit volunteers to come and work directly with the children. So court appointed special advocates are really here to better understand the children, understand their needs, get to know them and advocate for them.

KW (1:23) My CASA kid’s name is Deshawn, and he has impacted my life immeasurably. He’s given me a sense of purpose. He’s given me a reason to really get out and champion for not only him, but for all children that are in the foster care system.

JM (1:37) CASA Volunteers are able to be the voice for that child. They work one on one with the child. They get to know them in a really impactful way and a really deep and meaningful way. And then they’re also able to take that knowledge that they have of that child and work in different aspects across that child’s life. So they’re able to work with all of the different people that may be a part of that child.

KW (1:58) My child loves video games. And so occasionally we will go to an arcade, but I try to stretch him out of his comfort zone and give him experiences that he’s never had. And the good thing about having a child who does not have much in his life, it doesn’t take much to give him because your time is the only thing that he’s actually looking for. And so that is some of the things that I do that really makes an impact and is meaningful to me.

JP (2:28)  So becoming a volunteer is easy. It really takes someone with a big heart, someone who you have to be at least 21. You have to be able to pass a background check and go through some fingerprinting and some logistics. But for the most part, a good volunteer is really anyone who has a big heart and just wants to help these kids.

KW (2:46) As a CASA volunteer, you spend about 5 to 10 hours a month on your case, but that can vary depending on the logistics of your case. I can say that the best thing that I’ve learned is that you can embed your time with the children in your lives with your everyday life.

JP (3:03) Children come from all different cultural backgrounds, all different age and religious backgrounds, and so we really do a lot to try to make sure that we’re matching a child with somebody that fits into their lives that they can bond with and have a special relationship. We are always looking for volunteers for casa. The goal for us is that every single child living in foster care in southern Nevada has a CASA volunteer. So we need people. We need volunteers. Our goal is to get to 1500 volunteers in the next year.