Our very own Venue Director, Sarah Rose, felt a calling to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) back in 2018, and since then she has taken the necessary steps to transform the lives of abused youth in Orange County by graduating from training, supporting the cause at events, and donating whenever possible. We are so proud of Sarah Rose’s hard work and dedication to the cause and are happily partnering with CASA as we fight together to positively impact neglected children’s lives. To find out more about CASA and how you can help, please see our interview below with Sarah Rose and CLICK HERE.
What is CASA and what are the duties of a CASA?
A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate to a child in need. As CASA OC Mission states, “CASA provides a powerful voice and a meaningful connection for children who have experienced abuse, neglect and abandonment.” CASA is a national nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to become the best mentor and advocates to children in care. As a CASA it is your job and duty to engage in their lives and advocate for them on their behalf.
What inspired you to become a CASA?
It all happened so organically. I first learned of this cause through a Toy Drive I was a part of back in December 2018. I was so impacted by knowing I was helping a child have a great holiday so I ended up buying over 350 toys to donate to CASA. After the Toy Drive had ended I had such a yearning in my heart to want to do something like that again. I just love kids and I am super involved with my nieces and nephews lives so kids are very special and important to me. Especially my impact on the kids around me so of course I want to be able to impact any child’s life in the most positive way. I attended the Friends of CASA Holiday Luncheon back in December 2019 and that is where the tug on my heart was strong. We had the opportunity to listen to a few stories of CASA’s with their kids and stories etc. With tears in our eyes I remember sitting with our Marketing Manager Kristine and saying “I have to become a CASA, I am GOING to do this!” I knew that this is what I am supposed to do and how I need to get out into my local community. From there I took the next steps by attending a training meeting in January 2020 to becoming a CASA and after that meeting I signed up for the full 30 hours of training which started in February and took me to finish in May.
What are you looking forward to most while being a CASA?
There are so many things I am nervous and excited about as being a CASA. However, I am most looking forward to being able to share new experiences with the Youth that I am appointed to. I hope I can impact the child in just one way that they take away with through their life journey.
What do you hope to help your appointed child with while being a CASA?
I hope to advocate for the child in all the ways I see fit for them whether it be meeting with their school teacher to see how we can better assist them with grades/classes or extracurricular activities they may be interested in but something that the Social Worker or Foster Parents aren’t aware of.
What other CASA activities are you involved in?
I am a Member on the CASA Celebration Committee which is for the Annual Celebration of Children Black and White Ball. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 it was postponed back in March and should be happening sometime this Fall. It is a great time to raise money for the organization which goes to helping the kids.
What is the required training to become a CASA?
Becoming a CASA isn’t a hop, skip and jump. But once you’ve crossed that finish line it all becomes worth it. Here are some big leaps I had to take in becoming a CASA. I first had to complete 30 hours of training which was a journey in itself due to Covid-19. I started in January/February from in the classroom training to having to adapt to a new classroom style setting on Zoom. From reference letters, interviews, to finger printing and a background and record check. Once all of these steps were completed I was then able to be sworn in by a Juvenile Court Judge. This officially took place on Thursday, June 25th, 2020 where I was sworn in as a CASA in as an Officer of the Court. Again, because we aren’t able to meet I was also sworn in by the judge through Zoom.
How can someone get involved in CASA OC and how can someone not involved in CASA help the cause?
Anyone can get involved with CASA. Not only do you have to become an Advocate, you can also Volunteer for events that are held throughout the year, you can give money donations etc. There are always training sessions which you can find on the website and always go to listen and see if this is something you want to do. There are hundreds of youths on the waitlist that have requested a CASA advocate. There are so many kids in Orange County going through more than we can imagine. Right now with Covid-19 this has been a huge trial on all of these kids and now more than ever is a time where our help can impact just one child’s life.