Washoe CASA volunteer, Allen, lives an incredibly busy life. He recently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Nevada, Reno, is involved with four different on-campus organizations and works a full-time job. However, despite his hectic schedule, he finds time to volunteer for CASA.
CASA has played an important role in Allen’s life. He was in the foster care program as a child and was assigned a CASA. He experienced first-hand the love and compassion CASA volunteers show their kids.
“I definitely understand the importance of what they do and how they really make an impact on any child in the child welfare system,” said Allen.
When recalling memories about his CASA, Allen remembered a couple of instances that really stood out to him. During a visit, his CASA gave him a gift card for his birthday and a basketball for Christmas. Allen said he “was so caught off guard that he even cared to get me a gift.” He felt his CASA was always doing thoughtful things for him and his younger sister.
Allen got involved in Washoe CASA two years ago because he aspires to become a social worker in the child welfare system. He believes that working as a CASA will give him a different perspective than other social workers. Additionally, being a CASA “reinforces his love for this kind of work — working with kids and the system.”
As a recent college graduate, Allen is one of the youngest volunteers in Washoe County. He is a strong advocate for recruiting more volunteers who are similar in age. “I think that being as young as I am and interacting with these kids kind of allows me to relate more to them,” said Allen. “I see things a little differently. If other people who are as young as me could get involved, that would be a whole lot better.”
Currently, there are 7 CASA volunteers serving who are between the age of 21-29, and five who are students. Anyone 21 and over can volunteer for Washoe CASA. Performing the duties of a CASA are not confined to a rigid schedule, which allows CASAs like Allen to schedule visits and meetings around commitments such as class and club meetings.
Volunteering for CASA is one of the most fulfilling experiences of Allen’s life. He believes everyone can and should make time to give back to the community. He urges people to keep CASA in mind.
“If you’re going to do anything to give back, this is one of the best things. You’re giving these children a chance to have a loving home.” He also said that it’s gratifying to hear from the judge that the report he has submitted is appreciated because it assures him that his work is doing some good and changing the child’s life for the better.
Written by Paolo Zialcita and Haley Passione, Washoe CASA Foundation Interns