Last night I had a visit from a young community minded friend of mine that I greatly admire. He has some big plans for his life that will require a little more education. In the meantime he is in charge of the Cibola County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) group and he came to talk to me about becoming a volunteer.
While waiting for his visit I had checked CASA out online to get a better idea of what it is all about. For some reason it sparked my interest. Volunteers are appointed by a judge to represent the interests of troubled kids in the court system. They literally speak for the child in cases of neglect/abuse. They receive intensive training, make home visits and keep track of an assigned child/children until their case comes up in court. My friend didn't need to do a lot of convincing because the whole idea seemed like a really good fit for me. We will meet next week to go over the procedure to become a volunteer and fill out the required paper work. There's always paper work!
I remember a "friend" once saying, rather accusingly, that I had volunteered my life away. This person rarely volunteered for anything because money was his guide. My life has now settled down to an approved (by me) situation. I do still volunteer, as an individual, and only for things that I am passionate about. My writing group and the communication group we started at Grants Good Samaritan Center are at the top of that list. These things make me very happy and I know that my presence is making a difference in several lives. They both give me an opportunity to encourage others to be the best that they can be.
Sometimes all a person needs is someone who believes in them. I think the reason this has become so important in my later years is because I didn't have that support at times when I needed it the most, mainly my formative years. So if, as a CASA volunteer, I can give that important support to a child the reward will not come in the form of a paycheck.
For anyone who might be interested in CASA here is a website.