This morning, 395 children from our community woke up in foster care. This number is staggering. Fortunately, also this morning, 72 CASA Volunteers have been busy in our community advocating for the best interest of these vulnerable children. Through our trained and empowered volunteers, the Hall-Dawson CASA Program advocates for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse and neglect and are the subject of Juvenile Court dependency proceedings.
As we stand ready to usher in the new year, there is much to celebrate. 2020 brought many challenges. Most significantly, the loss of CASA Volunteer Richard Habgood. We also experienced so many blessings. As the pandemic became reality, we were grateful our Judges and Juvenile Court system were on the leading edge of the state ensuring hearings were held timely and virtually. Our Volunteers quickly moved from in person to “driveway” and virtual visits and porch drop offs. There were zoom story times and help with homework facilitated by our Advocates. Even as our staff moved to working remotely, our advocacy efforts remained high.
Our program moved forward with the addition of two new staff positions. In April, Volunteer Recruitment and Training Coordinator, Tracy Verrigni, joined our team and quickly jumped in to help transform our entire pre-service training program into a virtual format. This included pre-service interviews, the 30-hour curriculum, 10 hours of court observation, and even our swearing in ceremonies – all via Zoom! In 2020, we held three Volunteer training classes and added 19 new Advocates to our program.
In October, Joy Green joined our team as our Development Specialist and jumped right in with our Giving Tuesday and our Annual Appeal campaigns. Both of these new positions support our Strategic Growth Plan for 2021 where our primary focus is twofold: Serving 100% of the children who need us, and increasing permanency outcomes (reunification, guardianship, and adoption) for children we serve.
For those who have supported our local CASA program with their volunteerism or their financial giving, we are so grateful for your support. For those who are interested in finding out more about becoming a CASA Volunteer, we have a seat available for you in our upcoming January training class. Resolve to be the hope for a child in 2021. https://www.halldawsoncasa.org/how-to-help/volunteer/volunteer-inquiry.html