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CASA of Central Virginia is in Need of Volunteers

Written by Anna Dodge, James Madison University Summer 2024 Intern 

The Court Appointed Special Advocates, also known as CASA workers, of Central Virginia are in need of volunteers to help the ever growing need of representing the voices of children in the court setting. CASA recruits, trains, and supports their volunteers who specialize in advocating for the needs of children who have been abused or neglected and are going through the court system. 

Last year CASA of Central Virginia served 221 children who needed assistance in voicing their thoughts and opinions in the courtroom. While this number is incredible, there are currently 77 children who are on the waiting list to be helped. “We are always looking for more volunteers to advocate for these children who can’t advocate for themselves”, said Kelli Diaz, the Recruitment and Development Director at CASA. 

To become a CASA Volunteer, it’s easy! There are no law enforcement, legal, or social work background requirements, only a desire and passion to help children in need. First, you attend an information session, led by Kelli Diaz, for about an hour where you learn about CASA’s history and about how they support these children. Next, you submit an application and go through the interview process. If selected, you then attend a 40 hour training over the course of 8 weeks. Finally, a judge will induct you, and just like that you’re ready to serve your first case! 

“Our volunteers are the eyes and ears of the judge and they advocate for that child's best interest from the beginning to the end,” said Kelli Diaz. 

If you want to volunteer but you don’t think being a CASA worker would be best for you, you can also volunteer as a CASA Sidekick. CASA sidekicks are asked to help once a month for about an hour doing various tasks like helping with different community events, helping plant the pinwheel garden, and helping with mailings for CASA. 

There is a fall training class which begins in August and the application deadline is July 22nd. CASA of Central Virginia is hoping to fill those training classes with about 15-20 people. If filled, these training sessions for CASA volunteers would help offset those 77 children who are still on the waiting list. 

“I think without CASA a lot of those children would still probably be in foster care,” said Katie Alexander, the Special Events and Marketing Coordinator for CASA of Central Virginia. 

There are some amazing upcoming events for CASA of Central Virginia including a Fore the Kids Golf Tournament on September 18th and the 10th Annual CASA Superhero Run on November 2nd. Unfortunately, the Golf Tournament filled up immediately, but you can still join the waitlist or support the event by becoming a sponsor. Sponsorships range from $250 - $1500 and to find out more about sponsoring the Fore the Kids Golf Tournament, email for more information. The theme for the Superhero Run this year for CASA is Heroes vs. Villains. There will be a plethora of superhero decor, activities, and events to entertain everyone, even if you aren’t running the race. 

To learn more about how you can volunteer with CASA of Central Virginia, please visit the CASA of Central Virginia Share Greater Lynchburg profile. To see our interview with Kelli Diaz and Katie Alexander on The Mike Show, click here

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