On April 5, 2017 with National Volunteer Appreciation Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month as a backdrop, CASA of the Mid-Shore thanked the many Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers from Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties who stand against child abuse and take action by advocating for maltreated children. CASA’s Board of Directors, staff, and many volunteers gathered at Out of the Fire Restaurant to enjoy an informal evening of camaraderie and delicious cuisine.
In keeping with the combined themes of child abuse prevention and volunteer appreciation, each guest was presented with a blue pinwheel, the national symbol for child abuse prevention. Reflecting hope, health and safety, the pinwheels mirror CASA’s own goals of protecting and advocating for every child’s right to a safe, permanent home. This uplifting symbol of childhood represents the importance of the health and safety of our children. When children do not have opportunities for healthy growth and development, the future of our communities is at risk.
In addressing CASA of the Mid-Shore’s volunteers during the reception, Executive Director Robin Davenport applauded their efforts and thanked them for their service to vulnerable children. She shared A Prayer for Children by Ina Hughs, part of which describes those children “who have no safe blanket to drag behind, who can’t find any bread to steal, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.”
Robin emphasized, “We focus on making a positive difference for one child at a time, centering on hope and unrealized potential. Notwithstanding the increasingly horrendous daily news that seems to greet us many mornings, our work at CASA proves that we have the capacity to make a difference in our communities. What better way to positively impact the future than to empower the life of a child? It is this belief – that we can make a difference – that continues to serve as the foundation of our CASA of the Mid-Shore.”
Local judges rely on CASA of the Mid-Shore for a thorough and compassionate analysis of each child’s situation, knowing that CASA volunteers often become important, consistent adults in children’s lives. Several Years ago Talbot County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Kehoe stated that, “CASA volunteers are the sparks of hope for children.”
Dorchester County Circuit Court Judge Brett Wilson stated, “I have found CASA to be an immensely positive and effective addition to the processing of child neglect and abuse cases in Dorchester County. Although the trial table at a Child in Need of Assistance hearing is crowded with social workers, parents, and attorneys representing the Department of Social Services, the child, and the child’s parents, none of those are as uniquely qualified to see that the child’s interests are brought to the fore as the Court Appointed Special Advocate.”
At a recent Swearing-in of new CASA volunteers in the Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court, Judge Thomas G. Ross said that CASA volunteers are his heroes. Magistrate Meta agreed with the judge and remarked on the importance of CASA’s voice in difficult cases.
In the Kent County Circuit Court, Judge Paul Bowman stated that, “Each CASA has the power of one, to change the path and to make a positive outcome in a child’s life.”