Retired federal employee Lucy Capaldi has served as a CASA volunteer for the past three years, advocating for a total of seven children on four separate cases. In this post, Lucy shares her reasons for becoming a CASA volunteer and highlights some meaningful CASA moments.
I learned about CASA from one of my neighbors, who happens to be a judge. He told me about how ordinary citizens are involved in the advocacy of children. I was employed at the time, but advocating for children was something I knew I would definitely like to do after retirement because I consider children to be the most helpless and vulnerable in our society. Reading about child abuse/neglect in the news would drive me crazy because there was nothing I could do about it. After retiring, I was browsing through one of the local newspapers and saw an ad for CASA volunteers. I knew this was my opportunity, and I attended the CASA information session with my application already filled out and signed. I had no doubt that this was what I wanted to do. After listening to CASA staff and volunteers tell their stories about their involvement, I was filled with admiration and respect for them and the program. I thought that if I could make a difference in at least one child's life, it would be well worth the effort.
On one of my cases, a father was seeking full custody of his four children; however, he rarely saw his children and had anger management issues. Representing his client at the Disposition Hearing, the father's attorney repeatedly argued for custody for his client. Finally, the Judge told him, "I would suggest you read the CASA report. That will tell you everything you need to know about this case." The Judge’s comment made it clear to me that my time was well spent in the months of observing, recording, and detailing all the events in the case.
On another case, the three children were too young to appreciate the fact that they had someone looking out for them, but I knew that they were finally getting the required medical care, surgeries, psychological screenings, proper clothing, car seats, etc., that they needed. It meant a great deal to me that I could help those children and advocate to the social worker for their needs. It is important to me that I can help children who may otherwise get lost in the system.
Are you looking for a way to improve the lives of vulnerable children? Attend Fairfax CASA's November 17 information session in Alexandria and hear more about the CASA volunteer experience.