As a 24-year-old recent college graduate experiencing a global pandemic, Ben Morton was looking to give back. With extensive background experience in volunteerism, Ben was looking to continue enriching his experience through our Advocate program.
Advocacy is at the core of what CASA volunteers, like Ben, do. CASA volunteers go through our extensive training process to become sworn in court-appointed advocates. CASA volunteers:
• Serve as a part of the fact-finding process for the judge by thoroughly researching the background of the assigned case.
• Speak on behalf of the child in the courtroom, representing his or her best interests.
• Act as a monitor for the child for the duration of the case, ensuring that the case is brought to a swift and appropriate conclusion.
Ben started his CASA training before the global pandemic began and was shocked in his first weeks of training to see the difficulties these children experience. He knew about child abuse but didn’t realize how close to home it would be. Due to the pandemic, his first face-to-face meeting with Sarah* was via Facetime. At that moment everything felt more real. Throughout the next couple of months, Ben began meeting virtually with Sarah and other children he was advocating for.
In October, Ben, with the sign off of his Advocate Supervisor and foster parents, was able to do his first in-person visit with Sarah. It was Halloween and Ben dressed up as the Grinch to visit her and her sisters. He even brought them their favorite type of doughnut as a treat. Sarah and her sisters were incredibly excited. During his visit, Ben was able to build trust with Sarah and talk freely about their needs, hobbies, and interests. By the end of his visit, Ben felt like he had a duty to make sure that any roadblocks Sarah and her sisters currently experience were removed for them to be successful.
Our CASA volunteers change the lives of children in the foster care system. If you’re considering becoming a CASA advocate, Ben asks you to remember a time in your life where you felt supported. By becoming a CASA Advocate you are paying it forward to a child who needs hope.
Children in the foster care system deserve permanency, safety, and a place to call home.
Change a child’s story.
Learn more about becoming a CASA Advocate today: https://www.casacookcounty.org/advocate/
*Name changed to protect child’s identity.