A worthy New Year's resolution: Advocate for an abused child
To the Editor:
This is often a time of year to reflect on the past and look ahead to next year and possibly consider resolutions. If you decide you want to resolve to use your skills and experiences to give back, there are several opportunities for you. One way you can do this as a specially trained volunteer with Court Appointed Special Advocate of New Hampshire.
As a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers receive in-depth training to advocate in court and in the community for the needs and rights of a child in your community that has been abused or neglected. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and professions and have one thing in common; they believe every child deserves a safe and permanent home.
"Volunteers get to know the child they represent by talking with everyone in that child's life; parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what is in their best interest," explains Jen Buteau, North Country Training & Recruitment Coordinator for CASA of New Hampshire.
CASA of NH volunteers complete a 40 hour pre-service training. Once they are assigned to a case, they can expect to spend roughly ten hours a month getting to know the child, gathering information, exploring resources to meet the child's needs, representing the child in court and writing reports. Volunteers receive ongoing education and are supported every step of the way by staff, seasoned advocates and an impressive statewide network of experts in various fields. CASA of NH honors the fact that this is a volunteer position and each advocate takes only one case on at a time or more seasoned volunteers can opt to take a second case if they desire.
CASA of NH volunteer Mark Linehan added, "CASA appealed to me because it is meaningful volunteer work where your contributions can make a positive, meaningful difference in the lives of the children that we serve and represent. It is volunteer work that is not about the volunteer, has real responsibilities, constant learning opportunities and challenges. It truly is about advocating for the children that cannot advocate for themselves. I believe that CASAs help the children get through a very tough time in their lives, we give the children someone to talk to who has one purpose; doing what is in the best interest of the child and the children know this."
To learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of an abused or neglected child in our community, contact CASA of New Hampshire by calling 603-237-8411 or visiting www.casanh.org "Giving hope and speaking up for an abused child in your community will be the best resolution you can possibly make," Buteau concludes.
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