From Pittsburg to Nashua, CASA’s new virtual training brings the classroom to your own home
The month of June saw a new milestone at CASA – the successful completion of its first two fully virtual training classes.
Two legal interns and 25 new volunteer advocates from 25 communities across New Hampshire and Vermont were the first to experience the new training that is a mix of “face-to-face” Zoom sessions with breakout groups and assignments in Google classroom.
“The opportunity to be trained virtually is safe and convenient, and I never felt I didn’t glean all the necessary training, discussion, role play, and coaching that is vital to preparing me for this role,” said training graduate Brittney Joyce. “The most surprising part of virtual training was how well our trainers fostered a sense of community among our group – simple asks like keeping our cameras on for the duration of training, putting participants into breakout discussions, and asking us icebreaker questions for the Zoom chat at the beginning of each session helped all participants feel more connected to each other.”
Like it does in the classroom, virtual training is interactive and collaborative and requires large and small group participation. It welcomes guest speakers, facilitates a virtual role play where volunteers can practice the types of conversations they’ll have with the various parties to a case and includes drafting a sample court report.
Going virtual for training has also established the capability to train volunteers from every corner of the state at the same time to be ready to take new cases wherever they come in.
From in-person to online
For 31 years, CASA’s classroom-style training has been its cornerstone for preparing volunteers to provide courtroom advocacy for abused and neglected children. But when the governor issued a stay-at-home order in March, CASA’s training team took quick action not only to convert the final hours of its classroom training in Dover to complete the class online, but to create this fully-immersive virtual pre-service training. This new approach to safely providing training is critical for the coming months as the need for new volunteer advocates is significant ahead of an anticipated surge in new abuse and neglect cases.
“Within two weeks of the governor issuing his stay-at-home order, reports of abuse and neglected dropped by about 50 percent, not because it isn’t happening, but because it isn’t being seen by people like teachers and daycare providers who are the most common reporters,” said CASA CEO and President Marty Sink. “We have started to see cases being reported more as the state begins to re-open, but we are expecting a surge of many more in the coming months and we need to have advocates trained and ready to take those cases.”
Training available this summer and fall
CASA is accepting applicants for future virtual training sessions beginning Aug. 3, Sept. 16, Oct. 19 and Nov. 10. Interested volunteers can submit their applications today, or, join an upcoming virtual information session to learn more about the role CASA volunteer advocates play in the lives of New Hampshire’s abused and neglected children. Virtual info sessions happen every other Tuesday. Register for one here.
Please help us welcome Susan A., Alexandra, Jennifer, Steven, Barbara, Brittney, Robert, Pam, Lisa, Carolyn, Ellen, George, Cynthia, Ken, John A., Jean, Veronica, Martha, Paul, Jack, Susan G., Janine, Carol, Stephanie, Karen, John S. and Adam to CASA.