Volunteering to Help Children in Our Community

Posted By: on July 17, 2015
Photo-of-happy-kids

  
Editor’s Note: This is part 2 of our profile of
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children), one of our wonderful community partners, and the Harmony House. Read part 1 here.

If you have a heart for children, becoming a CASA volunteer is one of the key ways people from our community can help.

Here’s one quick story of a child Harmony House has been able to help.

The child came to us after being born to parents who used heroin and had mental health problems. Because of the parents’ history with substance abuse and their mental health issues, it was not safe for the child to have unsupervised visits with them. CASA was able to set up safe, supervised visitations between child and parents.

The Harmony House Visitation Center played a vital role in supervising these visits. Harmony House is a part of CASA and is a place that children can feel comfortable in an “at home environment”. Harmony House is also available for advocates to take the children for activities.

Harmony House staff and CASA encouraged these parents to take greater responsibility for their own parenting choices and to improve their understanding of parenting skills.

As this child grew, the parents did make positive changes and dealt with their addiction. They also enrolled and attended parenting classes.

The parents told the CASA, “We are so glad that Harmony House is in this community. Otherwise, we would not be able to see our child. We appreciate everyone at Harmony House.”      

CASA spoke for this child in court, and Harmony House provided detailed information to the court regarding the visits between child and parents. Harmony House gave the parents the opportunity to see their child in a situation where they otherwise might have had no contact at all.

CASA and Harmony House staff understand that there are no happy endings, just new beginnings, of which patience and compassion may help the healing process begin. It is important to have a third-party observe how the child interacts in other settings and with other children. This gives you another piece of information you can take back to the court.

Overall, CASA Advocates for children have rewarding and positive experiences. The staff at Harmony House are dedicated to children having visits with their family.

After all, that’s the point…to make a positive difference in the life of one family, to help make the bureaucratic machinery run just a little smoother, and to make the cracks that children fall through just a little narrower.

As so many of our volunteers will tell you, there is a great deal of satisfaction in giving a voice to someone too small to be heard in the chaos of a disrupted family. Being a CASA volunteer means making a contribution toward a better community, a community that nurtures its children.

The bright promise of a better future. Dull, vacant eyes now sparkle with anticipation and hope.   Frowns and tears have turned into smiles and laughter. The CASA and Harmony House staff made sure the “voices” of these children are being heard… Together with our wonderful volunteers, we CAN make a difference in the lives of our community’s children.

Interested in learning more about Harmony House? Visit their website or give them a call at (970) 223-5966.

And if you’d like to talk to someone about group, individual, or family counseling, we’re always ready to help. Send a confidential email to help@heartcenteredcounselors.com or call (970) 498-0709.

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