New Year's Edition of
The View from the Director’s Chair- An occasional series
By: Erica Fischer-Kaslander
We have all been in a place in our lives were we made a regretful decision or developed bad habits. I know I have made decisions that I wish I could change on several occasions. When I've been lucky I had the chance to make that change-- often with help from my closest family and friends. Most of us have also known family or friends that struggled with bad decision making, poor choices or found themselves in a negative environment at some point. In some cases, we have been there for them to help create the needed changes in their lives.
At this time of year, many people are seeking to change and to make resolutions for improvement and seeking solutions for success. Unfortunately, in most cases, we can’t change the past. However, we can change our future paths.
At the heart of it, that is what CASA believes. We believe in change. We believe that a child who struggles with behavior and impulse control today could be tomorrow’s class president. We believe that a parent with anger management or substance abuse issues has the potential to be a fully functioning and dedicated parent after treatment. We believe that a child who is living in the uncertainty of the foster care system year after year could still be adopted. We believe a struggling student can still graduate high school.
In the broadest terms, we believe that the role of CASA is to see through the darkness that may be overshadowing a child at the time they are in foster care in order to find their future potential.
Many of the areas of change that our children and their families need are supported through the work of a CASA volunteer. CASA volunteers are the force to help move children towards the change they seek and need.
CASA volunteers help connect children with the proper resources to manage behavior and mental health issues, to help locate prospective adoptive families, and to arrange sibling visitations among hundreds of other things. CASA volunteers will continue visiting, monitoring, advocating, and working day in and day out for the changes need for each child to each their greatest potential—regardless of how dark today may appear.
As I write this, I can’t help but think of a dear friend who struggled with depression and addiction at a young age. He made bad choices. He got in trouble. His entire life was affected—until he decided to accept the help being offered and make the change happen. Many years later, he is now a wonderful, stable and sober person. He gives back to his community, family and friends in appreciation for believing in his potential when he was in his darkest place.
For children without intact families to support and believe in them, CASA is that same driving force towards positive change. We believe these things are possible because we have seen them for hundreds of Passaic County children since CASA opened in 2007.