Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 20, 2012

Volunteering your time can be the ‘perfect gift’


Submitted

CROSSVILLE — In this "season of giving," countless hours and dollars are invested to find the "perfect" gift.

In a "perfect' world, that gift would be pay-what-you-can; guaranteed to please; remembered for a lifetime.

“Impossible,” you say?

Not impossible for the thousands of volunteers across the United States -- and in your own community -- who are giving time to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

From all walks of life and ages (21 and up), CASA Volunteer Advocates are committed to be a champion for an abused and neglected child. Without someone to represent their needs and wishes, thousands of these innocent victims suffer and die each year.  CASA volunteers’ investment of time will help the court make a decision that will be in the best interest of the child and the best possible outcome for his or her future.

Judge John Officer of the Overton County Juvenile Court said, “Since the CASA program began in Overton County I have seen very positive results in the cases in which a volunteer is involved. I greatly appreciate UCHRA keeping this program in place and it has my continuing support."

Volunteer Advocates, after being screened and trained, are sworn-in by the court to be its "eyes and ears." With authority of the court, CASA Advocates have the right to interview anyone with information that will help to achieve the best possible outcome for the child’s case.

Cheri Richards, regional administrator for the Department of Childrens’ Services for the Upper Cumberland region of the Department of Children’s Services, speaking to a group of child welfare professionals, said, “CASA is an important partner with DCS – helping the team make better decisions in the best interest of the child”.

If you have a feeling of outrage when you read news reports of these cases, consider giving the "gift of a lifetime" to a child in your community.  CASA programs established in Putnam, Cumberland, Overton and Smith Counties.

If you’re believe in the work CASA is doing and would like to learn how you could invest your time in the future of a child, call 456-0691 for details and make an appointment for your interview. A new training class begins in January.

For additional information about CASA, see the national CASA website at:www.casaforchildren.org.