Dover Adds 8 Volunteer Advocates

Pictured from left to right: Scott McPherson of Kittery, Karen Leavitt of Deerfield, Kristyn Bond (staff), Katie Ronzano (staff), Linda Haidaczuk of Newburyport, Shelly Mulligan of Durham, Gene Young of Alton, Tammy Sarchi of Portsmouth, Dave Gallipeau of Henniker and Dave Morrill of Keene.

CASA of New Hampshire welcomes 8 new volunteer advocates and two staff members who completed the 40 hour training this month, preparing them to speak for the best interests of victimized children in our state. Coming from as far as Keene, six NH residents and two out-of-state residents, from Massachusetts and Maine, joined together over the course of five weeks to learn how their voice can help abused and neglected children find their forever home.

This thorough training process involves an overview of the family court system, guidelines that help to ensure positive advocacy, tips for writing and reporting to the court, along with details on CASA’s influence in the Granite State. New advocates gain experience by practicing their public speaking, participating in role play activities and reading through closed case files and other documents to begin familiarizing themselves with the judicial process. They gain valuable insight on how to connect with their future CASA children, and learn about the challenges that many NH families are facing.

These 8 individuals do not have a history in legal or social work, they simply all share a passion for helping children who are in need of a caring, compassionate adult to speak on their behalf. CASA volunteers have been advocating in the NH family court system for 29 years, serving more than 10,000 children since then. They are often seen as the one constant in the life of these vulnerable children, who are often removed from their homes, left to navigate new challenges. Volunteers are required to meet with the child once a month, and to maintain contact with all important adults in the child’s life including parents, foster parents, teachers and case workers. Their voice is critical in the court system to help to ensure that the child’s needs are being met and not lost in the complexity of cases.

The advocates shared words of encouragement that they wish to share to their future CASA kids. Congratulations and welcome to all!