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.
Jenifer Page, CASA Volunteer & Board President – Champions of Casa Las Vegas (00:31) 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 And so now they’re living in foster care across southern Nevada. And so the Casa Las Vegas program was really created to support advocacy for those children so that we can make sure that they have a voice and that they’re represented throughout the court system and throughout their entire lives in all aspects of their social, their emotional and their physical needs across the system.
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 throughout their entire lives.
Moon-Hui Choi, Volunteer – CASA Las Vegas (3:49) 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 (1:46) Court appointed special advocates have a critically important role working with children living in foster care. So children living in foster care oftentimes feel like they don’t have a voice. They have no one there to really advocate on their behalf and really work with them to make sure that they have everything in their life that they might need.
MHC (2:04) Many of the children have been emotionally and physically abused or neglected from their own parents. So it’s hard for them to trust someone when someone who’s supposed to be protecting them have not been able to. I work as a team with foster parents, caseworkers, child attorney and sometimes school counselors, teachers as well as health and mental health professionals to ensure that child’s needs are met.
JP (2:38) CASA volunteers main responsibility is to show up and be consistent for that child. So a volunteer that’s just willing to give of their time, give them themselves, and really take a common sense approach to what this child needs. Makes a perfect volunteer.
MHC (2:52) 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.
JP (3:10) The CASA program provides fantastic training for our volunteers. Our volunteers can feel very supported. They go through an initial 33 hour training course, both in person and online. So it’s a blending learning. And then they’re given additional training throughout the course of time that they are a volunteer to continue to help them.
MHC (3:29) We all want to be part of something that’s larger than ourselves. Becoming a gospel volunteer has given me a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in my life.
Please join us. Becoming a CASA volunteer will not only change the children’s lives, but your life as well.