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How to help Cincinnati children in 2017

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Posted at 11:57 AM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 12:38:27-05

It's the time of year when you may be making changes to better yourself. This year, in addition to striving to be fit and healthy, think about how you can give back in 2017.

Volunteering is a great way to give back and can pay off in big ways for both you and your community.

For example, volunteers through ProKids advocated for 757 abused and neglected children this past year. But that’s only a fraction of the more than 3,500 children who are in the Hamilton County child protection system. More volunteers are needed to serve these vulnerable children and help them have a brighter future.

As a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate or CASA, you can be trained to advocate for a child in Hamilton County who needs your help. ProKids has been mobilizing the community to break the vicious cycle of child abuse and neglect for more than 30 years, but more CASA Volunteers are needed to serve more children.

CASA Volunteer Phil Beckmann says, “It takes community involvement for things to change. By working with ProKids, even if I’m busy with my full-time job managing a small business, I gain perspective and can do something to help children in bad situations have a better chance at life.”

Training and ongoing support is provided by ProKids, beginning with a Snapshot information session. They are offered once or twice a month, and you can register for them online.

Thanks to a flexible, customizable schedule, you can be a CASA Volunteer even if you are busy.   And according to a study by the Wharton School, you will feel less rushed at work and in your personal life if you volunteer. While it seems counter-intuitive, the study found volunteers were energized by their unpaid work.  

 

 

For example, ProKids volunteer Jim Lake has a busy career that includes travel as well as a family which includes four children. Yet since 2007, he has found the time to volunteer as a CASA.

“As a CASA Volunteer, we are appointed by the Juvenile Court Magistrate to advocate for a child who has been abused and neglected,” Lake said. “I consider myself a sort of legal monitor who can ensure that a child has all the resources they need for a safe and productive experience when they are in the care of Hamilton County Job & Family Services. If you have two or three hours a week, you can be a CASA and truly impact a child’s experience.”

To read more volunteer stories, click here.

For more information on serving children in the community or becoming a volunteer, visit ProKids.org.