Child advocacy group reaches out to community after decline in volunteers

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — After a decline in volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a local child-advocacy group is reaching out to the community for help, in the form of volunteers.

Beginning in the early ’80s, volunteers with the Court Appointed Special Advocates have been crucial for children going through the foster care system.

“These are children that come from abusive and neglectful situations from our community and the advocates, they will advocate for many things for these children,” Executive Director of C.A.S.A., James Bodling said.

Bodling said these volunteers serve as an extra set of eyes for abused children, but due to the pandemic and virtual learning, some of these kids aren’t being seen.

“Well, initially, COVID didn’t allow us to even see our kids, so these were kids that weren’t being seen at all, they were isolated,” Bodling said. “So it made it really difficult for our volunteers to keep that bond and that connection going with these kids.”

This means if children are being abused at home and staying home during school hours, they might not get the chance to notify another adult about the abuse. Because of this, C.A.S.A. said volunteering is even more crucial now than it has been in the past.

“Because they [C.A.S.A. volunteers would] usually go out and spend time with them, and get know them and know about their situation and so that they can be the best advocate for them,” Bodling said.

Bodling said because C.A.S.A. is a nonprofit, it is always in need of volunteers either donating time or money to the program, which is why organizers with LarsonFest are gearing up to hold a two-day concert.

All of the proceeds from the concert will go to C.A.S.A., which Bodling said helps tremendously.

“Our kids are placed all over the state of Texas, so it allows volunteers to be able to travel and spend overnight to go spend time with these kids and get to know them,” Bodling said.

If you would like to volunteer and become a C.A.S.A. or would like to make a monetary donation, click here.

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