By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) –Lubbock's Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, is in desperate need of volunteers who serve as the voice of thousands of abused and neglected children across the South Plains.
Currently only one out of four children in need of a CASA volunteer gets one leaving hundreds without., and to train each volunteer it cost about $300.
Michelle Kiser is one of those volunteers who has been helping abused children since 2008. "You try to understand a little about what they went through and talk to them because as an advocate you want to voice what they would like and what's in the best interest of the kids," Kiser said.
For the past two years Kiser has been working with a family of four children who were taken away from their home because physical abuse. "There are times that I've cried. I've had to be strong for these kiddos," she said "but they understand they're taken away because something bad happened and it wasn't right, and those kids have to be strong".
As tough and heartbreaking it is to see these kids deal with abuse, there are happy endings. Just two weeks ago, two of Kiser's CASA kids were adopted by their foster parents. "They're great kiddos. They're bond with foster parents is unbearable now. When you see them , that's their mom and dad," she said "and that's a wonderful outcome for kids like this".
To be a CASA volunteer you just have to be 21-year-old, pass a criminal background check, and complete 30 hours of training. You must also be committed to working a case for at least a year while working alongside attorneys and social workers to determine what's best for the kids.
"It's tough but it's worth it in the end when you see these kids get adopted, it is worth every single solitary emotion that I have. If you have the time and if you have the heart and the will we need those volunteers very badly and it's such a great experience," said Kiser.
CASA is hoping their annual "Casas for CASA" fundraiser will raise more than just money by raffling off five different play houses. Set up in the middle of the South Plains mall they want to spread the word on the desperate need for volunteers. To learn more about becoming a volunteer or to buy raffle tickets online (click here).
So far CASA has raised $10,000, just $15,000 short of their goal. You can buy tickets until Sunday at 6 p.m. when the drawing starts.
(Click Here) to donate and to learn how to volunteer.
Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.