This past weekend I travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana to give the keynote address to a statewide meeting of 600 CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers. The title of my talk was: “Of All The Things You Can Make In Life, Remember You Make A Difference.” I was well prepared for my presentation, but I was not prepared for the no frills, no nonsense, not just another charity luncheon difference the time with these great people made in my life.
There are over 3,000,000 physically, sexually, emotionally abused, ignored, and abandoned children in this country. For many of them, a CASA volunteer is the first and only person who has stood up for them, stood beside them, and refused to stand down when tough times got tougher yet. CASA volunteers open their hearts 24/7 to children for whom no one else has time. Moreover, these volunteers do it time and time again. CASA volunteers live this simple truth: “Our heart knows what our mind only thinks it knows.” CASA volunteers are not confused into believing that the road ahead for these children will be easy, or that helping these children will be easy. They do know that if you are looking for an easy undertaking in life, you don’t become a CASA volunteer. CASA volunteers remind these children that they matter. And, in turn, CASA volunteers learn how much they matter. And, for any of us who are hoping to give meaning to our life, this is no small matter.
After my talk, I sat and signed books for 90 minutes. Over and over again, a long line of good people asked if I was exhausted. I assured them that the vanity outweighed the labor. And they laughed. But that’s who these folks are. They laugh easily, they care a lot, and they give, over and over again, to children who have been given nothing and have had almost everything taken. And these same folks, God bless them, who give so much worried about me, and if my pen hand was growing exhausted. Thank you to every CASA volunteer, in every state. Of all the things we can make in life, remember you are making a difference. And surely being in your company makes a difference in my life. Know that, please.
Learn more about the ongoing program of The Justice Project’s Book of My Own.
Executive Director, The Justice Project