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.
Keith Wingate – Volunteer – CASA Las Vegas (00:29) 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 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.
Jennifer Page – Volunteer & Board President – Champions for CASA Las Vegas (00:53) CASA Las Vegas program was formed in 1980, and the need that it serves is really to promote advocacy for children living in foster care. There are approximately 3200 kids living in foster care. They come from abuse and neglect and abandonment within their own homes.
Moon-Hui Choi -Volunteer – CASA Las Vegas (1:10) My role as a CASA volunteer, first and foremost, is to get to know the children as much as I can, like my own children, if possible, and find out what their needs are. It could be academically academic needs. It could be some health needs and try to advocate resources on their behalf.
JP (1:31) Children are assigned throughout the court process. So if a child is in the foster care system, they are eligible to receive care from a court appointed special advocate. And so once a child is deemed necessary to have a court appointed special advocate assigned to them, they are actually they go through the CASA Las Vegas program.
MC (1:53) Many of these children have been placed in multiple foster homes or group homes. And sometimes I’m the only constant in their lives. So when they’re moved and I show up, they’re happy to see me.
JP (2:06) The children are ages 0 to 18 and they are matched with a volunteer based on their individual preferences, their individual needs, and a good fit for those volunteers and for those children.
Keith Wingate – Volunteer – CASA Las Vegas (2:17) 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.
JP (2:30) The impact itself can be felt in so many different ways from helping them to achieve permanency, from helping them to reduce the number of placements while they happen to be in the foster care system. Helping them thrive in a school environment really just build confidence and understand that they have somebody there who cares about them and shows up just because they deserve to have somebody in their lives that’s meaningful.
KW (2:55) Tt makes me very humbled to know that I have someone who just enjoys my company and looks forward to seeing me when things don’t go right at work or in the world, I can find solace going to spend time with my child because he doesn’t care about that.
MC (3:13) I became a CASA volunteer wanting to impact the children’s lives. But at some point I realized that they have made a difference in my own life. The children are impacting my own life by teaching me about resilience and their capacity to be happy when they have so little in their lives. We all want to be part of something that’s larger than ourselves.