Thursday, July 10, 2014

Giving Back and becoming a CASA - Show and Tell Friday

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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! 

 


If you are joining in on Show and Tell Friday, please remember that your Show and Tell needs to be something from your home or garden. If you would like to join in, please enter your name and leave your exact Show and Tell blog post link, not just your blog link and as a common courtesy link back to my blog.
 
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35 comments:

Kat Jeter said...

Thanks for hosting!

GnomeLover said...

I have a lump in my throat after reading your post. That is so incredibly beautiful what you are doing. So generous. And just really kind. The world could use more people like you. You are inspirational.

Jenni

Suzan Sweatman said...

That's a beautiful thing you're doing Cindy - I'll be volunteering at an elderly assisted care home in the fall - I completely agree with your sentiments ( I think we're roughly the same age ) something IS missing when we're no longer raising children.
The best of luck - I know you'll get as much out of this as the lucky child!!!
Hugs,
SUzan
Oh - and thanks for hosting - I forgot about that for a moment lol

Karen said...

Good luck Cindy. You are doing a truly wonderful thing.Our foster care system and the children in it need all of the support they can get. This is a beautiful way to use your blessed life and pay it forward. As always thanks for hosting.

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Thanks for the party!!

Hugs,
Debbie

The Charm of Home said...

How wonderful you have become a CASA. That is such a special gift you give to the children. Thank you!

Crochet Hooks said...

How awesome Cindy! best of luck, I know you will be awesome as a CASA!

Judy Pimperl said...

What a great thing to do at this point in your life! I'm just sitting here thinking that it is so refreshing to hear a piece of child related good news today...there have been so many heartbreaking stories in the news the past few days.
Keep us posted on the CASA developments, and thanks for hosting the party!
judypimperl.blogspot.com

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Cindy,
Thanks so much for hosting the party. I am really looking forward to hearing more about the child that you will be helping.

Blessings,
Linda

Anne said...

My mom was a CASA for years, it is rewarding but hard work!

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

Wow, I'm in awe of your dedication and commitment to these children. Good luck with the training and getting your first child. Your parents definitely did something right:) Thanks for hosting as always.
xo Kathleen

Victoria said...

Awesome Cindy! You're putting your money where your mouth is and that's such an admirable thing:)

Poppy said...

A fine cause and how generous of you to be granting your time and skills and love to such sweethearts in need of some guidance and attention and care.

Thanks for hosting and have a wonderful weekend!

Poppy

Jeanette Ann O'Donnell said...

Cindy I wish all the very best in your new vocation. Your are such a caring person to give up what little time you must have,to take part in such a worthwhile cause.

Jojo said...

Thank you for highlighting the work of the CASA Program and a special thanks to you for the work you are doing to help children in the foster care system. The time you are dedicating to training will be so worth the personal rewards you gain in helping a child. Cindy this is an outstanding show and tell post!!!

Diva Kreszl said...

What you about to embark on will fill your heart and make a huge difference in the lives of those you touch!!! I too found myself feeling this way as my children grew, my outlet was to become a youth leader in my church for middle and high schoolers. Not only was it rewarding but I also learned a great deal from these kids, you are right, not everyone grows up with the support system they need. Bless your heart for all you are doing!!!

kate Westman said...

Was a CASA for 7 years and know of the service you will provide. By posting this info, you may have encouraged others to volunteer too. God bless you in this wonderful undertaking.

kate Westman said...

Was a CASA for 7 years and know of the service you will provide. By posting this info, you may have encouraged others to volunteer too. God bless you in this wonderful undertaking.

Katherines Corner said...

Cindy, congratulations on your new path. I know you will be a wonderful advocate for children.
There are so many terrific things shared this week. I am happy to join in the fun. Thank you for hosting xo

Geovanna said...

Felicidades Cindy, mucha suerte, Dios te lo recompensara :)

Kimberly Lewis said...

I love stopping by your party each week. Fabulous party. Please come and party with us. We would love to have you! http://loulougirls.blogspot.com
Happy Friday! Lou Lou Girls

Patricia Krank said...

Wow Cindy, I am excited for you! I agree with you that there is something missing inside until we start sharing with others our own strength and hope. The children you work with will benefit greatly from your advocacy but in the end you may be the one to benefit the most. At least that's what I've found through volunteering. Kudos to you!
Thanks for the great party dear lady and blessings to you,
Patti

Mindi Carwin said...

That is great Cindy! My good friend is a CASA and she has really blessed the lives of many children. What a wonderful service and love you will provide! Thanks for the party!

Sarah said...

Kudos to you, Cindy. CASA is an amazing organization. All the best to you as you help these children in need.

Glenda said...

I have a friend that is a child therapist and although she doesn't say who they are she in general tells of the many issues that children and their families go through and the reasons why children need someone on their side in situations that adults can't help themselves and bring trauma into their lives that affects them in everyday situations, that includes school and their peer groups. I think its outstanding that you want to reach out and make a difference.

C.D. Loken said...

This is my first time visiting your blog, and linking up to your party. I am so glad I did. After reading your post,I couldn't help but see myself in your words. Thank you so much for sharing! I am your newest follower!!!!

Susan Freeman said...

Thank you for introducing us to this program Cindy! Yesterday I spoke with a woman who works with my husband's company. Her stepdaughter just gave birth to a meth baby. The social worker is looking for a foster home for the baby until the mother can clean herself up from drugs. It's doubtful that she will because she also has a three year old daughter living with her parents because she cannot care for her. So many children are tragically living in the foster care system because of drug abuse. This CASA program sounds like such a great one and I will check into it further. God Bless you for sharing your talents and compassion with children in need. I know the rewards will be great.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Adrian Peterson said...

Thanks for hosting a great party! Lots of cool ideas.

Shell said...

Hi Cindy. That is a great thing you are doing. Many blessings to you for getting involved to help a child.

AndeM1 said...

Cindy.....God bless you for being a CASA. I formally worked in foster care for 20+ years and CASA's were often times a saving grace for us all, particularly the children. Thank you for being that person!!!!!
Andrea
AndeM1@hotmail.com

Victorian1885 said...

How wonderful... you will be a loving support system to all the children in your care. Take care..

michele@Portlandia Vintage said...

Cindy - Your Post today is wonderful. Your parents are with you as you advocate for children. Some children are going to be very lucky to have you on their side.

Rachael Yerkes said...

What a beautiful soul! Thanks for sharing, the world needs more people like you! Those kids you influence will be so lucky!

Missy George said...

CASA is a wonderful organization. My sister used to volunteer for them when she lived in West Virginia. Have a wonderful weekend.

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