To The Daily Sun,
Advocating for people who are dealing with difficult circumstances has always been my passion. Growing up in the North Country, I was appreciative of teachers and pastors who helped me get through some very difficult years. For the past 32 years I have owned and operated a business out of my home, and I quickly realized I needed an outlet other than the business to satisfy my desire to serve people and to make a difference in their lives and to meet the need in my life.
I was trained and became a hospice volunteer for 12 years. When a member of my family and several friends became terminally ill, I left that program to use my skills to assist those people and their loved ones in the process of end of life.
It was after that experience that I had a desire to learn about CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), an organization that works to affect the lives of children who have been abused or neglected. I was trained and have volunteered with CASA NH for the past four years.
The training and work was challenging at first, as I had to learn the court language and procedures for appearing in court as I represent these needy children. Writing the court reports every three months takes me the longest amount of my volunteer time, but even at that I usually accumulate no more than 20 hours of time each month.
The best part of my experience with CASA is when I visit the children. The games we play, the talks we have, and the hugs I receive from these precious kids is indescribable! The effort and my time spent has been so rewarding, as I have witnessed and been invited to adoption proceedings. To hear one little 7-year-old boy say to his pre-adoptive mother, "Can Bonnie be at my adoption?" was priceless.
What about you? Do you have a desire to affect the child who has been abused, born addicted, neglected educationally, abandoned, or neglected in so many other ways? I can guarantee that you will be challenged, you will grow personally, you will be supported by a well-run organization, and the rewards you will receive will far outweigh the time you give to CASA NH.
There is currently a great need for more CASAs in this area. A training program is scheduled in Plymouth to begin in November. For additional information about the CASA organization go to www.cashnh.org. Please join me in advocating for the abused and neglected children in New Hampshire. It just might become your passion.
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