Casa Of Gila County Seeks Volunteers

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On Oct. 27 communities across Arizona participated in “Make a Difference Day,” the nation’s largest day of community service.

Groups supporting the day to honor volunteers includes Court Appointed Special Representatives (CASA).

With approximately 100 Gila County children now living in foster homes, shelters, in group homes or with relatives, the need for CASA volunteers is urgent.

“Whether or not you participated in ‘Make a Difference Day’ this year, we ask that you consider making a difference in the life of a child,” said Katrisha Stuler, program manager for CASA of Gila County. “The children in our community urgently need you to speak up for them as a court appointed special advocate. With your voice, you can change their lives.”

CASA of Gila County currently has 25 CASA volunteers, many of them in and around Payson, but still need more advocates.

“I get teary when I read accounts by foster children who have had CASA volunteers and how their CASA volunteers have impacted them,” said CASA of Gila County volunteer Maxine Piper. “It’s an honor to be trusted with this huge responsibility and great privilege to impact a child’s life.”

The CASA program, which is managed by the Arizona Supreme Court and has offices in all 15 Arizona counties, recruits and trains community-based volunteers to speak up for the rights of abused and neglected children in court. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to foster children who have the greatest need for an advocate.

Volunteers do not provide placement or a home for the child, but are strictly advocates who submit their recommendations directly to the judge hearing a child’s case. CASA volunteers complete 30 hours of training to prepare them for their duties.

For more information on CASA of Gila County, or how you can volunteer, contact Katrisha Stuler at (928) 474-7145 or visit www.casaof gilacounty.org.

CASA volunteers:

• Must be at least 21 years old

• Go through a rigorous

screening process including

interviews, reference check,

a fingerprint check, and

polygraph exam

• Commit to at least one case

until its conclusion, which

usually takes 10 to 20 hours

per month

• Complete 30 hours of

pre-service training

• Help judges determine the

best outcome for the child

• Build a 360-degree view of

the child through meetings

with teachers, counselors,

physicians and guardians

• Ensure that children are in

safe, permanent homes

where they can thrive

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