Your entire community — however you define that; your hometown, your neighborhood, your family, your colleagues — is guaranteed to read your blogtomorrow. Write the post you’d like them all to see.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us COMMUNITY.
The first is by becoming a CASA, a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children. These volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children in schools, with doctors, in the courts, in short everywhere. They are another set of eyes looking at the child’s situation and reporting back to the court on how the child is doing in his or her placement, whether that is with his or her parents or in a foster home or in a treatment facility. CASAs are appointed by the court to children that the judge feels could benefit from having another sympathetic adult in their lives. CASAa become friends to the child and gain their confidence and learn what the child’s wishes are but also learn what is best for the child. They then make their report to the court on what is best for the child. The judges take the CASA report very seriously.
CASAs spend about 5-10 hours a week on their cases. These are mostly after work hours. They visit their children and make calls to doctors and schools and psychologists. They attend court hearings on their case and this does require daytime attendance. Most people can get time off to attend these hearings. They are about every three months. There are also CPS staffing meetings that should be attended before the hearings, but the CASA supervisor can attend these.
I would urge those who can to consider becoming a CASA. It is a rewarding job and a worthy volunteer activity.
The other volunteer activity for those over 50 is becoming an OASIS volunteer tutor. Join OASIS, the organization for people over 50. Become a tutor in reading for children in grades 1-3. OASIS trains volunteers in a two-day training on how to structure a tutoring session. Basically, you read a book to a child. You have the child write a sentence about the book. You play a word game with the child. The child reads the sentence he or she has written. They choose a word to remember from their sentence. They read a sentence from their previous lesson. That’s it. In reading and writing, the child learns to read better than he or she had previously. Eventually, the child learns to read the books to you. Their sentences become more complicated and better. You get such a sense of reward from being with your student for the year. You stay with one student for the year and see the growth in the student. It’s a remarkable thing.
It’s a wonderful project for retired people to do. We go to the school and meet with the student for an hour or half hour out of their day once a week. We do this all school year. It’s amazing what the students learn over the year.
These are two wonderful ways you can serve your community. I hope one of them appeals to you. Won’t you consider volunteering?