Time has a way of solidifying memories and bringing great joys to those who are lucky enough to have strong support and wondrous friends in their lives.
As I reflect on the thousands of children that Advocates for Children has served over the past 30 years, I remember kids of every age, size, shape, and ethnicity, and families facing every hardship under the sun. But one fact jumps out at me, and it makes me both fearful for our children and proud of the incredible dedication of our volunteers. And that is that, until as recently as a few years ago, our volunteers could count on helping children who were facing a predictable situation. Of course, each family is unique and faces heartbreaking challenges in different ways, but our “typical” case was young children who had suffered neglect at the hands of parents who struggled with substance abuse or mental illness. And our volunteers have always been the one person who provided stability and care to those young children who so badly needed their help.
Recently, in addition to the “typical” case, our volunteers are being presented with cases involving adolescents who are gang-affiliated or so mentally ill that they physically harm themselves, siblings who are placed 60 miles from one another, and 11-year-olds who are incarcerated for minor crimes. And our volunteers are rising to the challenge. Never have our children so badly needed the support and advocacy that a CASA volunteer can provide.
Advocates for Children is celebrating our 30th year of providing support and a voice to children who are alone. Each of you reading this has been significant in the lives of these children. You have volunteered, donated, worked in the office, and given of yourself in a significant way. Not everyone can take a case, but everyone can support a child. You are the change and the light in children’s eyes. We are thankful to each of you for your commitment and hope you will join us for our year-long celebration of you! WE ARE FOR THE CHILD!
Chair, Board of Directors