Some months ago I wrote a blurb about CASA for this blog. I've always thought it was a great organization and had been trying to talk my mother into starting to volunteer for them now that she is retired. I know her particular skill set would be great for what one needs to accomplish.
Finally I got her to do it! And it turns out she loves it and is great at it. So, now my mom is a child advocate and my sister-in-law does their outreach and another sister-in-law used to volunteer and I have several friends who volunteer and just by a natural progression I decided I'd go ahead and get certified.
SO... I have been sitting in the certification class for a week and have another half of a week to go. I wonder about the sanity of the decision since I'm raising two kids (with my husband) and we're running our own business. But then I think about the kids that need a voice and I can't ignore that.
It's remarkable to think what can be done if we all band together to help stop the cycle of abuse and neglect. I sat in court for three hours last Wednesday and listened to various testimony of people -- child protective service workers who testified the parents aren't doing what they need to do to get their kids back, parents who say they are doing all they can, listening to drug test results, police reports, advocate reports, lawyers who try to turn their client's lemons into lemonade...
One of the days in class we discussed domestic violence. We listened to a 911 call from a little girl named Lisa. I have a fairly tough exterior and most of the time remain in great control of my emotional self, but this one really got to me. As I sat listening I wondered if I cried because it was just horrible or if it was because I still struggle with the repercussions of my niece being stabbed by her husband I could not separate the two and I'm not sure if the depth of my sorrow was for little Lisa (and all the other little Lisas in the world) or if it was for my own family and our loss.
Not that it matters. My perspective has certainly changed since I've had children and crimes against children seem way worse now than they ever have because I put myself and my kids in the place of the people in the stories I hear. And I want to be a good example for the two boys I'm raising. I tell them they should make the world better than it was when they arrived to it and I ask myself constantly if I'm doing that myself.
How many lives must we make better to counteract those who are selfish or careless or violent? It would be nice if there was a formula, but there's not. So my plan is to just keep trucking and do the best I can do in my own small way, one person at a time. If you'll do it with me that will be two of us and if you bring a friend that's three times the good.
(If you have time to be an advocate for a child who is a victim of abuse and neglect, please check out CASA and see if it would be a good fit for you!)