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Eight new volunteers sworn in to advocate for kids in foster care

To The Leader

On the morning of Thursday July 2, 2020, the Honorable Judge Rogers officially swore in eight new Court Appointed Special Advocates in a virtual ceremony on zoom.

These trained community members, known as CASA volunteers, will work with CASA of the Sabine Neches Region to advocate for children and families who are involved in the foster care system.

“We’re so excited to have this new class join our team of 21 volunteers,” said Codie Vasquez, Executive Director of CASA of the Sabine Neches Region. “I know that they will do amazing work that will positively impact children and families right here in our community.”

CASA is committed to safe practices in the midst of COVID-19. In addition to virtual swearing-in ceremonies, they are offering virtual training, virtual information sessions and practicing social distancing by temporarily closing the office to the public.

“The pandemic may have changed the way CASA does business,” Vasquez said, “but it has not changed CASA’s commitment to reaching our goal of providing a highly trained, passionate volunteer advocate for every child in Orange, Jasper, Hardin, Newton, Sabine and Tyler counties.”

Gracelyn Phillips, newly trained and sworn-in CASA volunteer, decided to join the CASA movement “to give a child a voice so they would have a channel to a brighter life, so they can feel good about today and tomorrow and can put yesterday in the past”.  The rest of the new volunteers will soon be assigned to an individual child or sibling group, who they will advocate for until the closure of their case.

“Even in my training alone, I’ve seen the remarkable positive impact that CASA volunteers can have on the children and families they serve,” said Phillips. “I can’t wait to get started on my case!”

CASA volunteers advocate for the child they represent in every facet of their life and make recommendations to the court to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. As a part of their advocacy, they get to know important adults in the life of the child they represent, such as their parents, foster parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, therapists and more.

CASA volunteers work for reunification with the child’s parents as their primary goal whenever it is safe and possible to do so. When reunification is not an option, CASA volunteers advocate for the child to live with another relative, family friend or a loving adoptive family. Whatever the circumstances of the case may be, CASA volunteers work with the child’s caseworker, family and others to build lifelong, committed support systems that will last long after the case is closed.

“There isn’t another volunteer experience that matches what you’ll get with CASA,” said Vasquez. “There is a human element that drives our volunteers to do their very best on behalf of the children and families we serve.”

Have you been looking for a lasting way to make a positive difference and pay it forward to your community? There’s no better time to become a CASA volunteer. Maybe Judge Rogers’ next volunteer swearing-in ceremony will be yours!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at CASA Sabine Neches Region, you can attend their next virtual informational session every Thursday at 10:30AM via zoom by registering at casasnr.org or call (409) 886-2272.