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Wilson: A perspective from a volunteeer for Court Appointed Special Advocates

POSTED: April 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

When I was young, I was often embarrassed because I didn’t have material things, items other children and their parents could afford. After becoming a mature adult interacting with other adults about childhood, I learned the difference between a house and a home. The first instructions a child should be taught in the home are values, respect and compassion for others as well as themselves. Children need love, safety and nurturing from parents to feel secure and valued.

When parents fail in their obligation to provide these qualities, this loss hinders the growth and development of the child. Sometimes this failure results in young people finding themselves in situations that are unhealthy to their development. These include drugs, teen pregnancy and being subjected to the court system and our correctional institutions.

We are fortunate to have an organization like the Court Appointed Special Advocates to intervene early on in the lives of children in unfortunate situations. Children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned should have the right to a safe and permanent home.

This organization knows that courage and creativity are the most attractive, unlike beauty and cash. Courage and creativity can build instead of fade over time. CASA’s standards are to improve growth and development within a safe and stable home life. CASA recommends targeted treatment programs for abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse, guidance and others for children and family members who often need help.

CASA has been successful identifying problems early, gathering information from professionals, family, children and others with knowledge of the child’s circumstances.

CASA researches the case and prepares a written report directed to the court with recommendations regarding the best interest of the child.

In this way, every child will have a chance to become productive, educated, well-balanced and civil members of society.

As a CASA volunteer, I can attest to the quality of care given to the clients. I work closely with the director of CASA, Connie Stephens. She manages a large team of professionals that includes Cory Buckley, Sally Patrick, Jennifer Moore, Lisa McCarthy and 129 trained CASA volunteers. These dynamic individuals are dedicated to the organization’s mission to protect the most vulnerable members of our society: Our children.

This organization possesses great compassion for the children, families and volunteers. When I became incapacitated after an operation and confined to my home, they provided company, food and transportation promoting my recovery.

The CASA organization is building a new facility to better accommodate the children it serves. I know whenever situated in the new building, greater achievements are on the horizon for the children in need.

If you would like to help this worthy cause or volunteer your time, the CASA phone number is 770-531-1964.

Guest columnist Mordecai Wilson is a Lula city councilman and CASA volunteer.



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