Looking around these days, it’s pretty clear that there are very few things on which everyone agrees. You say “Potato,” I say “Po-tah-to,” and then we are suddenly embroiled in a five-hour debate focused on tuber production in Idaho, government conspiracies and possibly even the Chinese.
But even as we argue and quibble these days about political matters and social issues, there is at least one truth that just about all of us believe: Our children deserve the best we can give them. They deserve to be protected, and to grow up in safe and loving homes. They deserve opportunities, and to have someone looking out for them.
Sadly, as we all know too well, it doesn’t always go this way. Through no fault of their own, so many children in our community are pulled into the court system as the result of abuse or neglect.
Their lives now in disarray, facing a trauma, these children suddenly find themselves desperately in need of a steadying adult presence that will help guide them through the difficult weeks and months ahead.
And that, for the past 15 years, is where Goochland resident Ann Casey has come in.
As the executive director of Goochland’s Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, Casey has made it her mission to see that children in need have a voice and a person looking out for their best interests during an intensely difficult time.
According to the organization’s website, CASA volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home, working with legal and child welfare professionals, educators and service providers to ensure that judges have all the information they need to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.
Casey began her work with the organization in 2005 as a volunteer, and five years later took on the role of executive director, working tirelessly to recruit volunteers and raise funds to help support the program.
It was a role, it seems, for which she was perfect.
During Casey’s tenure, the number of CASA volunteers has increased from eight in 2010 to 24 now. Those volunteers now take on around 35 cases per year, offering support to the most vulnerable members of our community.
Casey will soon be retiring, but the impact she has made on the CASA organization, and on the community as a whole, is indelible.
She’s been a champion for children, an asset to her community, and an example to all of what it means to truly devote oneself to improving the lives of others.
And that’s certainly something — even if it’s one of the only things — on which we can all agree.
For more information on Goochland CASA, including how to volunteer with the organizaton, visit www.goochlandcasa.netlify.app/main.html or call (804) 556-5876.