Grand Lake woman is exemplary volunteer
Special to the Sky-Hi New
Fall morning light falls on Lisa Turan as she begins to teach yoga at her Stillwater Studio in Grand Lake. From here, Lisa will dash across the hall to begin settling invoices and returning phone calls as office manager for Grand Lake Electric.
When her work day comes to a close, she does not rush out the door to head home to her horses, husband and dogs, but rather takes a moment to check her Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) email where she receives updates about the children she is advocating for. Lisa is a CASA volunteer and gives her time as a voice for children who the courts have determined have been abused and neglected and who often have been removed from their homes.
“I like volunteering in the community that I live in and I like Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA because in rural communities it seems almost easier for children to fall through the cracks,” says Lisa. “I enjoy developing the personal relationships with the children and becoming someone they are familiar with, a constant in their lives.”
Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA was established in Grand County in 2009. So far this year, 12 children are being served by five trained CASA volunteers. Volunteers are required to complete 32 hours of training before accepting a case. Once a case is accepted, the volunteer meets with the child once a week spending quality time and building a relationship.
These relationships are very rewarding as a CASA volunteer can become an important figure in the lives of these children. The volunteer works with the child until a safe and permanent home is found.
CASA volunteers gather information from all pertinent adults in the child’s life then use that information to write a report filed with court. Judges rely on the report to help complete the picture of what is in the best interest of the child.
Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA provides the opportunity to support the children of our community, building their confidence and self-worth. Research indicates that children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to graduate from high school, have fewer numbers of out of home placements, and spend less time in out of home placement.
“It is very rewarding to see cases progress, children changing and growing, and in the best case scenarios, families reunited,” says Lisa. “It is the best day in court when a case is closed and I get to hear the judge praise the family’s efforts and see the pride and happiness on their faces. Even I though I am just a small part of it, it is the greatest feeling. This is why I am a CASA volunteer.”
Lisa completed her training in May 2011 and acted as an advocate for three children since that time. Lisa has attended countless court hearings, visited with many professionals and when the parents of these children have completed the work to regain custody of their children, she has cried tears of joy with them.
Volunteers are needed and like Lisa, you can change the lives of children you see in our community every day.
Shanna Ganne is the Grand County program coordinators for
Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA. To find out more about how you can become a CASA Volunteer, begin training and speak up for an abused and neglected child, contact her at email@example.com or visit http://www.nwrmcasa.org.
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