As a mom, partner, full-time worker and part-time college student, I know how busy life can get. As CASA of CGS’s Social Media and Outreach Coordinator, I often hear that people want to help but they don’t know how or have the time to volunteer. I wanted to take a moment and share all of our opportunities that are available for our community to participate in to help our CASA kids and our non-profit program as a whole.
1. Volunteer as a CASA Advocate
Our main volunteer opportunity is becoming a trained CASA Advocate. Our CASA Advocates speak up for abused and neglected children in court by advocating what they believe is in the best interest of the child. We require and provide a 30 hour training (you can view our current training dates here) that helps prepare for this duty but don’t fret, you will have constant support from your Peer Coordinator and Advocate Coordinators if you ever have questions or need someone to talk too.
This volunteer opportunity requires a minimum of 10 hours a month dedicated to researching, investigating and court appearances for your case. The hours may be more, depending on the severity and stage of the case. The beauty of becoming a CASA Advocate is that you are able to pick and choose the case you want to work on. So, let’s say you don’t have much more time than 10 hours a month to dedicate too, we can help you pick a case that has low activity. Learn more about CASA Advocates here.
2. Volunteer as a CASA Social Volunteer
A CASA Social Volunteer is someone who helps raise awareness of our program, events, trainings, and our mission on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.Social media is a powerful tool for promoting and marketing and the more help we get, the bigger impact we can make for the children and youth we serve.
We ask our CASA Social Volunteers to share, like, and retweet as much as possible. We also created a group where we post call to actions updates, events and other important information we need help sharing. Join our CASA Social Volunteer Facebook Group today!
3. Hold an Informational Session
Let’s get together! Are you interested in learning more about CASA and how you can make a difference in your community? Hold an informational session with your friends, workplace or group! This is a great way to help us reach a broader audience and raise awareness of our need for volunteers! This coming year we have over 1,000 abused and neglected kids in our 3 counties alone, who need a CASA Advocates. Help us recruit volunteers by holding one or more of these sessions.
A staff member from our program will come out to educate everyone about our volunteer opportunity and answer any questions or concerns you and your party may have. Fill out our interest form if interested!
4. Donate or Help Us Raise Money
Donate today! Don’t forget to invite your friends and family to donate too. You can also help us raise money or donations by reaching out to local stores, restaurants, holding a bake sale, etc. Feel free to contact us for more details.
The money donated to our non-profit go towards:
- Volunteer Training: Training costs including the 30-hour pre-service training required by all volunteers, and the 12-hours of annual in-service training required of all current volunteers
- Support and Administrative Costs: Each volunteer must be supervised by an Advocate Coordinator and the National CASA Standard of a 1:30 ratio of a full-time equivalent staff position to active volunteers must be maintained, as well as all the additional administrative, case management, and non-profit agency costs.
- Volunteer Appreciation: One way we like to thank our volunteers is with a fun night out with dinner, dancing and awards with a yearly Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Award Ceremony.
- Outreach Costs: Outreach and raising awareness within our community through special events and projects such as Adoption Day, Angel Tree, collecting donations, ect.
5. Donate In-Kind Donations Needed
We have 3 projects you we donate items too. We have our Duffel Bag Project, court room waiting room bags and our annual Angel Tree at Christmas time.
- Our Duffel Bag Project:The average foster care child moves 7 times before the age of 18. Most of the time, these children are moving place to place carrying only a garbage bag. Our goal is to eliminate trash bags as an acceptable form of luggage for the foster children and teens we serve. Most times when children are taken from their home, they don’t have necessities such as a toothbrush or change of clothes. They are alone and in need of a friend in their stuffed animal pal.This will be an ongoing project due to the fact that we are constantly receiving new referrals from Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Judges. Sponsor a child for only $25! Your donation is tax deductible, if you wish to receive a receipt from CASA of CGS please send us your name, amount donated, and address to Hillary.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wish List: Duffel bag, Stuffed animal, Blanket (prefer smaller fleece throws), Hygiene Products: shampoo, toothbrush, deodorant, toothpaste, brush, etc. (Regular or trial size is accepted) *All items MUST be new.
- Court Room Waiting Room Bags: More and more, children are attending the court proceedings in an effort to involve them in the decisions happening around them. The judges like to hear from the children during permanency hearings to get an idea of what they are comfortable with and what they’d like to see happen going forward.
The problem is, there is no telling exactly what time a case will be heard by the judge and many times, the children will be sitting, waiting for hours before they are given a chance to appear. The children and caretakers are usually not prepared for the long wait and get hungry, thirsty and bored. CASA of CGS would like to help make the visits to court a little more bearable for the children by providing healthy snacks, drinks, books and toys for them.Suggested items for donations are: Fruit snacks, Trail mix, Crackers, Granola bars, Juice boxes, Iced tea, Age-appropriate books, Coloring/Activity books, Crayons, Dollar Store Toys.
- Our Annual Angel Tree: Every year we make sure that every child we serve receives a Christmas gift. We usually start planning in October, make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop!
6. Serve on our Event Committee
Do you love planning parties and events? We want you on our Event Committee! We usually hold one or two major events a year and in addition to that we are looking to start doing more smaller fundraisers. Bring your knowledge, ideas and connections to the table to help this year be our best year!