Maison. Huis. Heim. Heem. Hogar. Casa. Home. The word home means so much to us. Home is our place of refuge from the chaotic world we live in and where we make memories with loved ones. As a real estate professional I know exactly how having a home means to my clients. In my personal life I mentally and physically crave the feeling of home, snuggled with my dogs, warm and cozy in my peaceful solitude. Whether you’re a homebody or a world traveler, coming home is one of the best feelings in the world.
But for more than 6,000 young and innocent children in Iowa, home is not a constant source of reprieve and respite. Instead, it’s often a temporary, fleeting, or never-known place and feeling.
These children I speak of are children who’ve been physically and legally removed from their homes and parents due to abuse and/or neglect and then placed in the foster care system. As I write this, in Woodbury County alone, there are 202 of these children. In the western part of our state, 693.
Take that in slowly: in our neck of the woods there are 693 young kids that are temporarily or permanently away from their families, trying to navigate and survive not only regular life but the complex child welfare system.
For many kids in the foster care system, the future is often bleak:
This information is terribly saddening and unnerving. After all, these are kids I speak of, innocent and young. The Kansas City Star recently did a feature showing that, if you’re a foster child, you’re more likely to end up behind bars than in college.
I present these very sobering statistics to enlighten you to the issue at hand, to evoke the sadness that so many of these kids no doubt must feel every day, and to empower you to make a small but mighty difference this upcoming May through the amazing Friends of Iowa CASA program.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. These are volunteers who mentor, guide, and represent in court these children as they move through the child welfare system. They attend the child’s hearings, they meet on a regular basis to check in and ensure their best interests are being met, and so much more.
CASAs are the voice for the voiceless. They stand as a bulwark against these vulnerable children becoming just another sad statistic.
This May, as I mentioned, is the annual Friends of CASA Light of Hope awareness and fundraising event. While we normally attend a short breakfast and listen to local speakers, this year we are hosting a virtual evening event on Monday, May 10, 2021, from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Local speakers include Gary Niles – juvenile court officer, Brian Crichton – CEO of CMBA Architects, Mary Sterk – owner of Sterk Financial Services, Brittany Beard – former foster youth, as well as Gary Kroeger – speaker, writer, entrepreneur, and former Saturday Night Live actor.
Please join me and others in learning more about how you can help these children. Registration is easy! Visit this link to register:
You can learn more about CASA or becoming a volunteer here: https://www.iowacasafriends.org/
Thank you and I hope to see you there!
Kathie Pfaffle, Board Member, Friends of Iowa CASA