Our Volunteers Champion With Patience, Diligence and Wisdom
I am for the child.
This is the vision and mindset of CASA volunteers who decide to advocate on behalf of children and youths in Delaware and Chester Counties. These special individuals drive our organization. They come from all over the Delaware Valley. They cross the ranks of professionals, mentors, retirees and concerned citizens who make our region great. They undergo rigorous training and receive diligent support from our CASA team.
Through it all, they share a common revelation: engaging as a CASA champion is a transformative experience.
What does volunteering look like? Once court-appointed to a young person or sibling group, a CASA team member accompanies the volunteer on a first visit. It’s designed as a get-to-know gathering, and it isn’t easy. It may even be awkward or adversarial. After all, the child or youth involved faces a crisis and often feels overlooked, overwhelmed, deeply conflicted and scared.
Over time, a relationship emerges and trust slowly builds as the volunteer keeps visiting the young person each month. Once that relationship clicks, often a volunteer will become the first or only adult that young person can trust.
Concurrent with nurturing this relationship, the volunteer connects with all of the stakeholders in the young person’s life. This includes Children and Youth Services personnel, teachers, therapists, doctors, parents and guardians. As they do so, the volunteer documents what he or she learns.
Importantly, in some cases, if the volunteer has been empowered through our Educational Decision Maker Service, he or she directly prescribes evaluations that lead to individualized learning plans for children and youths who have special education needs connected to their physical, cognitive and mental health. The volunteer is also empowered to approve the plan, request changes to the plan, request additional services or evaluations and to advocate for the child’s overall educational needs.
Ultimately, between the relationship with the young person and having observed and interviewed the people who comprise that young person’s life, the volunteer creates a report. Filled with current facts and concrete recommendations, it is considered alongside the testimony of Child and Youth Services and the parents/guardians involved. It becomes the most powerful resource a judge uses as they make a decision on the child’s future.
This level of attention to one youth or sibling group is why our work is so effective and rewarding. If you feel the slightest impulse to learn more, we encourage you to explore this section and fill out an application.
If you love our organization but don’t have the time to be a volunteer advocate, there are other ways to get involved!