CASA Volunteers Needed!


Make a Difference, One Child at a Time

CASA of the Eastern Sierra, a non-profit collaboration and partnership between Wild Iris Family Counseling and Crisis Center and the Inyo and Mono County Superior Courts, seeks dedicated volunteers to advocate on behalf of foster children trying to navigate the often confusing and frightening dependency system.

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers are the bridge between the reality of a foster care or placement existence and a brighter future. After training and subsequent appointment by a judge, volunteers become advocates for children whose futures rest in the hands of Dependency Court judges. CASA volunteers work one-on-one with the children, biological and foster parents, teachers, therapists, and others involved in the child’s life. They conduct independent investigations of a foster child’s circumstances, and communicate what the child desires or needs. Their findings are reported to the Court by the volunteer who advocates for the child.
“Imagine being a child removed from your parents and placed in the home of a stranger. It’s likely you are confused, frightened, and uncertain as to what the future holds,” said Virginia Bird, Domestic Violence Task Force Chair, Inyo Superior Court Assistant CEO, and Advisory/Steering Committee Member for CASA of the Eastern Sierra. She continues: “We need CASA volunteers for children such as these. CASA volunteers provide the child with a sense of security, as well as serving in the critical role of being a voice, eyes, and ears for the child.”
Interested volunteers must be at least 21 years of age and willing to commit at least one year to the program. Potential volunteers attend an orientation meeting, are interviewed, undergo a criminal background check, and complete up to 36 hours of free, in-depth training before being sworn as a CASA volunteer. Lisa Reel, Executive Director of Wild Iris and CASA of the Eastern Sierra, declares “CASA volunteers are ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things. People of all backgrounds, careers, ethnicity, cultural experiences, and life experiences are encouraged to apply. You’d be astounded by what a difference a single person can make in the life of a child within our court system.”

The next training is scheduled to occur in May and June 2014. The training format is an in-person training on May 31 from 9am to 12 at the Wild Iris office located at 150 N. Main Street in Bishop; on June 11, 18, and 25 there will be webinar meetings in the evening with a final in-person meeting on June 28. Inyo and Mono Counties are hoping to train 5 to 6 CASAs this spring as we work toward our goal of having a CASA for every child in foster care. Those who complete the training will be certified CASAs for both Mono and Inyo Counties. If you are interested in becoming a CASA, please contact Lisa Reel, Executive Director of CASA and Wild Iris, at (760) 873-6601.

Tammy Grimm, CEO of the Inyo Superior Court and Advisory/Steering Committee Member of CASA of the Eastern Sierra, asserts that “the CASA volunteer is the voice of the community in the Court. We have been waiting for decades for a program and opportunity like this, and we are sure that both communities will be compassionate and supportive of this worthwhile cause.”
For more information, or for questions, please contact Lisa Reel, Acting Executive Director of CASA/Executive Director of Wild Iris, at (760) 873-6601. She can be reached at email at *protected email*.