Tuesday evening, Porter County CASA held a dinner to say ‘thank you’ to its almost 60 volunteers serving more than 250 children in the Porter County area. The dinner, held at Aberdeen Manor, was to recognize those individuals who truly make a difference in children’s lives.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates- these advocates are appointed to children who are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. The CASA’s stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home, good for the child’s continued development.
Director of Porter County CASA, Sarah Fink, said the night’s event shows appreciation to those that give their commitment and dedication to those who need it.
“Tonight recognizes the dedication to our volunteers,” said Fink. “They give their time and money, and sometimes weekends to get to know kids that have been assigned to them. We’re celebrating the dedication and hard work volunteers put throughout the year that goes towards those kids.”
Fink says all the volunteers, who work hard on often difficult cases, deserve a night like this.
“The work we do and the cases we see are hard,” said Fink. “Their stories are sad, challenging and difficult. Our CASA’s show such hope and positivity. They do what it takes to make sure they are bringing a message of hope and that they are bringing the best interest to the kids.”
CASA’s volunteers filled the room as they applauded each other’s achievements in making a difference in the lives of so many.
Judy Hain said she has been volunteering with CASA for almost 8 years.
“I feel like I’m doing some good in giving back,” said Hain. “I’ve worked my entire career with children and this is an extension of that.
For Hain, it’s all about helping children in need.
“I love the kids, but I hate the conditions they are having to go through,” Hain said. “When a case comes to a good conclusion, it’s really a good feeling. I’m lucky with my life and my own kids have been lucky, and now I’d like to see these children get some stability in theirs.”
Even when they're honoring each other's hard work, the great volunteers for CASA are still giving back. A toy drive was also at the event to help underprivileged children enjoy the holidays.
Patricia Scott volunteers because she enjoys being with kids.
“You learn why there’s a need to protect kids from abuse,” said Scott. “It’s rewarding to be there for the child who doesn’t have anybody else and being their voice.”
Michele Swisher, another volunteer, wanted to emphasize the importance of volunteering and to giving back to the community.
“These kids need all the help that they can get,” said Swisher. “They don’t come from a great home life, and what we do can alleviate that for them. I want to do anything to help those kids and to help with their situation.”
The Porter County CASA program is grateful to each volunteer who put the time and effort into making a difference in children’s lives. They want to say ‘thank you’ to those who drive hours and spend significant portions of their lives to help a child. It’s people like these volunteers who truly make that time count.
As Fink said, “Everything we do is for the children, and tonight is to celebrate our happiness in making a difference.”
For more information on Porter County CASA, please visit https://www.fysb.org/casa-program
Valparaiso, IN 46383
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