Welcome to Show and Tell Friday!
This week I will be sharing something a little different. It isn't a material thing, it's something from my heart! I will apologize right now for this long post but this is my passion right now!
I'm sure many of you that have grown children will relate to this. Now that my children are grown, I feel like my life has become very selfish. I no longer have children to take care of (other than a 21 year old that still lives at home and two dogs), I feel like although I'm having so much fun at this stage in my life, spending time going out with my girlfriends and dancing every weekend, something is missing.
Something just didn't seem right about my life right now and I realized that I miss giving guidance to young children. That was one of the best parts of being a mom to me and I owe that to my parents whose words of wisdom that they gave me when I was young made me the person I am today! I loved telling my kids that it's important to hang out with the right kids, it's important to do well in school, it's important to have respect for elders....I could go on and on about the great things my parents taught me and I passed on to my children. Above all...my parents set high standards for me and at the time I thought I had really strict parents but now I am thankful for that! I am thankful because of this I never drank or did drugs as a teenager or young adult.
Some children are not that lucky. They don't have parents that teach them life-long lessons. They have parents that abuse or neglect them! Honestly, it wasn't until I was in my late 20s or early 30s that I realized not everyone had the wonderful childhood I had. They didn't have parents that taught them right from wrong! I was shocked when I listened to stories of some of my co-workers back when I was about 29 or 30 about the abuse that their parents inflicted on them! It seems so naïve to me now that I didn't know about this back then but I think things like that were sort of hush-hush back then but luckily now parents like this lose their children! It's no longer acceptable like it was back then!
So, I'll get to the point! Something I have been thinking about for about 3 years is to become a CASA. If you aren't familiar with that, it's a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children. Specifically, children in Foster Care....and there are a lot of them! I'm not sure how other countries handle this but in the U.S. children who have parents that abuse or neglect them are put with a foster family until the parents get their act together and can parent them or until they are adopted by a family that can. The children range in age from newborn to 18 years old. Actually in some states until they are 21!
A child in the foster care system will have their foster family, an attorney and a social worker looking over them but they are all paid for this. A CASA is a volunteer that is an advocate for the child! It's not just about being a friend to the child. A CASA spends about 2-3 hours a weekend with the child but they also talk to the teachers, the social worker and the foster family. A CASA looks out for the child in every way. You are supported by the judges, the attorneys and everyone involved in the child's life. You are the one person that is doing this for the best of the child!
It takes about 30 hours of training and being sworn in by a judge. So far, I've gone through orientation, a 90 minute interview by a CASA supervisor and 3 hours of training. When this post goes up I will be sitting in on my second 3 hours of training. I also have to have a tour of the court and sit in on a court setting. By early August, if I complete the training (which I intend to do) I will be sworn in by a judge as a CASA and then I will begin to read numerous cases and pick the child that I wish to become an advocate for.
The stories I've heard about the impact a CASA can make in a child's life is so inspirational! I can't wait to get my child but for now I'm enjoying the process I'm going through. I just got my fingerprints taken which is part of the extensive background check they do. Which to me is a good thing! What these poor children have gone through is so sad! I can't wait to be a positive influence in their life and pass on some of the wonderful things my parents taught me.
I want to share a couple links with you. First is the CASA website...they need volunteers so badly for these foster children and the second is a short video that someone made of what it feels like to be a foster child. The video is amazing and very touching. I so wish all children could have a happy childhood but if I can help them by having a happy rest of their life I will feel good! Click on the links below:
A touching short video about foster care through a little girl's eyes: ReMoved Video
I hope by sharing this that at least one of you will become a CASA! If you do, please let me know! I first heard about this years ago from a woman I watch on YouTube. I plan to go send her a message to tell her that she just changed my life and made me a better person! I know she will probably impact at least two lives greatly (me and my foster child)...and she has no idea!
Thanks to all of you that join in on Show and Tell Friday every week and thanks to all of you who leave such nice comments!