LAWRENCE COUNTY – The Lawrence County CASA Program is looking for volunteers to help the children of Lawrence County currently within the welfare system.
The Lawrence County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program was started under former Lawrence County Circuit Judge Linda Chezem with Volunteer Marge Lee and has focused on the wellbeing of children who are currently displaced from their homes during court proceedings.
Currently, there are over 200 children in the child welfare system in Lawrence County alone, and there are not enough volunteers to provide each of those children their own CASA representative.
With this overwhelming need for volunteers Melissa Kelley, Outreach Coordinator for the Lawrence County CASA program, shared how the program is set to host training days for community members who are interested in volunteering starting on Tuesday, March 29th at the StoneGate Arts & Education Center Building.
Those who are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer are required to fill out an application, and turn it in by Friday, March 18th, and must be at least 21-years-old. The time spent volunteering is flexible which allows people with full-time jobs or children at home to volunteer.
There is no experience or education required before becoming a volunteer and training is provided to those who join and volunteer. Those who apply will go through informal interviews and then background checks before being assigned a case.
Lawrence County CASA volunteers make a huge difference in the lives of the children in the program by being assigned a case and are involved with the child until their case is resolved.
Throughout that process, the CASA volunteer gets to know the child, the family, and anyone else involved in the case. They meet regularly with the child and get to know them to determine their needs and recommend what is in the child’s best interest.
The CASA volunteer communicates information about the child to the court so the child’s voice can be heard and so the child does not become “lost” in the system. The volunteer time is flexible which allows individuals with full-time jobs or who have children of their own at home to fulfill their other responsibilities.
In preparation for those interested in becoming a CASA Volunteer, Lawrence County CASA will be hosting a “Cupcakes with CASA” event on Tuesday, March 8th from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m at the Mixing Bowl, on X Street in Bedford.
The event offers individuals a chance to meet with 2021 CASA director of the year Rich Kosmala, CASA workers, and other CASA volunteers to ask questions and learn more about the program.