A new class of graduates completed CASA volunteer training at Lakes Region Community College during the second week of June. 10 local residents and one legal intern successfully finished 40 hours of comprehensive training that will now prepare them to advocate for a local abused or neglected child.
Led by CASA staff members, the training navigates new volunteers through the processes of the court systems, social stigmas and biases that they may witness on their caseload, how to communicate with a child who has gone through a traumatic event and how to accurately represent the voice of a child in front of a judge. They participate by reading sample cases, role playing with current CASA volunteers and completing at least one public speaking opportunity per session. Trainees are also able to visit the local court and meet a sitting family court judge to help them feel comfortable in the courtroom. As they complete their training, these new volunteer advocates leave with a better understanding of their community and the complex situations that are taking place around them.
Now graduates, these volunteers will begin to take cases out of the courts they selected to travel to. They will be assigned a CASA program manager who will supervise them in their time as an advocate, helping to answer any questions, make contacts with other state representatives, and cover hearings if the CASA is out of town.
The advocates chose to share messages of encouragement to their future CASA children. Scroll through the pictures below to see what this great group has to say!