As we reflect on 2017, many of us will be thinking about what we’ve accomplished in the last year and how we might make changes in 2018 to feel even more fulfilled. Some of us may be thinking about what a hard time it is with the partisanship and divisiveness that exists in our country. And some of us may be making resolutions to think and act more locally by looking for opportunities to make a real difference in our community.

CASA of Santa Cruz would like to invite you consider making a difference in 2018 for children in foster care in our community. In Santa Cruz County, each year approximately 500 children from age birth to 21 are in the foster and dependency care system. An incredible 71,253 of you visited the “Lost Childhoods” exhibit at the Museum of Art and History from July to December of this year and learned much about the challenges and struggles that youth in foster care face. You can be the ally that they need. You can be their mentor. You can be their voice, or help them find their own voice in the system into which they have been placed through no fault of their own.

These infants, children and teens are removed from their homes because they were abused, abandoned or neglected. We at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) can train and support you to help them as a CASA volunteer. We have six children on our waiting list of children who need a bilingual volunteer. When you are matched with a foster child you become their “Advocate.” You will spend two-to-four hours per week as you develop a one-on-one relationship, advocate for your child’s best interests, and ensure his or her needs are met until he or she returns safely home or into a loving permanent home. In a life full of uncertainty and change, you, as a CASA volunteer, will often be the only consistent, caring adult who will be there with them throughout their time in foster care.

We invite you to make a difference this year that could last a lifetime. Become a volunteer for an abused or neglected child. Our volunteers consistently tell us that being a Court Appointed Special Advocate or “CASA” is by far the most rewarding, fulfilling experience of their lives.

Learn more today by attending a one-hour information session. Go to: Our next volunteer training to be a CASA volunteer starts Jan. 30, so act now.

This year, you can transform the life of a child as a CASA volunteer.


Cynthia Druley is the executive director of CASA of Santa Cruz County. Her opinions are her own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.

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