The start of a new year often comes with a list of resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are different for everyone, but one of the most common is to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’re hoping to improve your physical and mental health, there’s one option that often gets overlooked and benefits others – volunteering.
Volunteering and helping others has been found to benefit both physical and mental health, and there are a variety of options in our community. If you’re looking for a new way to make changes in your life and in the lives of others, consider resolving to help children and families by volunteering with CASA of South Texas,
Currently 52,397 children are in the Texas child welfare system. These children have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care, sometimes far away from their families and communities. They need a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate ®) volunteer to stand by their side and advocate for them.
“Children in foster care are often separated from their families, siblings, friends and other loved ones, and placed in an unfamiliar setting far away from everything they know,” said Joni Garcia, executive director of CASA of South Texas. “CASA volunteers stand with them during this uncertain time, providing a consistent presence and speaking up for their best interest in court, at school and in other settings.”
CASA volunteers are everyday members of the community who are recruited, screened and trained to advocate for a child or sibling group in foster care. They get to know the child on an individual level so that they can make sure their physical, emotional and educational needs are met.
They also get to know the child’s parents, family, foster parents and other important people in their life, with the goal of working towards reunifying the child with their parents whenever safe and possible. They also help make sure children have a support system of family and other reliable, committed adults who can help them both during and after their time in foster care.
CASA of South Texas has served 265 children in foster care this year with 60 CASA volunteers. CASA is always seeking more community members to step up and advocate.
“Volunteering with CASA is an opportunity unlike any other,” said Garcia. “It’s a unique chance to make a true, positive difference for a young person and their family. We need more members of the community to join the CASA movement.”
In this New Year, consider becoming a CASA volunteer and make an impact in a child’s life, and your own. Every child has a chance – it’s you. ®
To learn more, call 830- 480-2557 or visit www.casasouthtx.org for information about contacting CASA of South Texas.