You can volunteer to be a court-appointed special advocate in Marion County and look out for the best interests of kids whose parents are unable to give them a stable, safe place to live and the feeling that somebody does care about them. That’s what Cindy and Nick Bondar do as volunteers with Child Advocates in Indianapolis. The Bondars are finding it so rewarding that they wonder why they hadn’t know about it sooner. When Nick withdrew from full-time work, and Cindy retired from her corporate career, they happened to read an article about helping with abused and neglected kids, and they decided to check it out. They had never done volunteer work, but after an orientation session, they were surprised at how quickly they were able to contribute their time. As Cindy says, “For Baby Boomers, it’s about having the time and flexibility to make ourselves accessible. This is the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done – I’ve grown as a human being, and learned a lot about how we can help change the outcome for these kids. If your grand-kids are not living close by, it’s a way to practice your parenting skills, and to be a positive influence.” Nick was amazed at how willing the children are to accept that someone does care.
As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case. Medical and therapeutic services may be provided to the children and their families as determined by the Indiana Department of Child Services, but you will be the one who recommends to the judge a course of long-term action for the children. Being a child advocate changes your perspective on what’s important in life. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference, this is it.
(This article is currently features in Indy Boomer Magazine- March Issue)