When Kay VanArsdale learned about Court Appointed Special Advocates and the need for more people to step up and fill this vital role, she knew she could help. "I have worked with children on many levels both internationally and domestically for over 35 yrs. We have so many children in and out of the system and many with few constants in their lives. I felt I could fill that void for the children in need as well as helping them build self-confidence and let them know that they are not alone," she shared.
Kay has served as a CASA since 2017 and has witnessed many wonderful things happen with the children for whom she has been an advocate. Observing one teenager's academic progress really stands out in her mind. "Watching this young lady grow from being beaten down mentally, physically, and emotionally into a confident young lady who felt proud of herself and her accomplishments just blessed my heart fully. There is no better feeling than the one you get after seeing such a beautiful metamorphosis."
While not every case has such a big transformation to observe, Kay also finds it very rewarding to offer hope and positive care to the lives of families that have lost their way and to support and guide children from families who do not achieve reunification. Asked why she continues to devote her time as a CASA, Kay responded, "because I know we all make a difference in the lives of the children we serve."
We could not agree more!
CASA of the River Region served over 550 children in 2023 with the help of 180 wonderful volunteers, including Kay. While her extensive experience is a great benefit to the children she serves, it is not a requirement to become a CASA. Volunteers must be over 21 and able to pass background checks. CASA provides in-depth training to prepare everyday citizens from all walks of life to fill this vital role and support/advocate for the best interests of kids in the Family Court system. The need for more volunteers to serve as CASAs is great at the present time with nearly 300 children in the system who are not currently assigned an advocate.