Franklin County Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA has been the helping hands for kids who face difficult times for 20 years.
“We look at needs of families, strength within families; how can we encourage and enhance the good foundations that are there; what can we do academically for children to make sure that they succeed,” said Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center Executive Officer,” Joyce Moran.
The program started in 1993 underneath the county government but new opportunities and support services transitioned the program to a newly created non-profit in January of 2000.
Dealing with the youth in sensitive matters takes special care and a special kind of person.
"I feel like children really deserve to have someone advocate for their needs. Children are not adults; they are not articulate. They are not able to stand up for themselves," said volunteer Emma Beneke.
Some staff members have been working with organization since the mid 1990's. And though some are not paid for their work, being a volunteer is its own reward.
"It is very rewarding to see some of these children or hear stories of success with these kids that have graduated from high school and have gone in to careers,” said volunteer Jane Jacobsen.
The hope for some is not to have the need for the program, hoping that no child is abused or neglected. If the need for advocates is there, volunteers will be there to serve.
There is a shortage of help and the program is looking for new volunteers.