By Dianne Smith
A foster child’s journey is one like no other, and often they feel unheard. They are placed in the homes of strangers where they are left to figure out all the unwritten rules and norms of that family system as well as wonder about their future.
To help guide and support them and to be their voice are Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Bonner and Boundary counties are in need of new CASAs to provide support for those newly entering the system. As the opioid crisis gets worse, and children are left without adults to care for them, the need will continue to grow. Studies on resiliency show that just one significant adult can make all the difference in the life of a child and studies on volunteerism show that by volunteering you extend your life and increase you contentment with life.
So being a CASA is a win-win; a win for you and win for the child.
The next training begins this January which is a way to start the new year off with a new passion and no special experience is required. You receive all the training you need from my wonderful friend, Jan, and then are assigned a mentor who helps you with your first case.
You will visit with your child and learn what they want and help them learn to speak for themselves. You will also meet with the family, so you can make recommendations for your child about what is in their best interest. You develop a significant relationship with that child so they know you are their support system during a very difficult time. You can be the one adult who makes all the difference in the life of a child. Please support my passion of 40 years and be the voice for a foster child.
We are so blessed to have so many great nonprofits in the area and so many wonderful ways to give back. Supporting others is a way to help to continue to make this an awesome place to live and raise children. Foster children are part of our future and need that extra support that CASAs can provide.
Sound interesting and like something you might want to do? Do you have the time to give and would like more information? Call or email Jan Rust, advocate trainer, at 509-879-1793 or [email protected] and she will gladly answer any questions.
Editor’s Note: This will be Dianne Smith’s last “Living Life” column for the Reader. We appreciate all the insightful words you have written over the last year and a half and wish you the best of luck, Dianne.
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