Year of the Volunteer & Volunteer Program Director, Adrienne Reed
Posted on January 20th, 2015
As of January 1, 2015, Child Advocates has declared 2015 as “The Year of the Volunteer.” We’re going to be working hard to increase our number of volunteers over the next 12 months.
My hope for 2015 is primarily that our volunteer pool doubles in size. We are currently at 305 active volunteers currently with cases. I would love to see that number at 610 active by the end of 2015.
We need this many more volunteers because as of January 1, 2015 we have 1,000 more CHINS (Child In Need of Services) cases than in January 1, 2014. We had around 3,000 kids at the beginning of 2014. We have about 4,000 starting off 2015.
We are a unique CASA program, where if we don’t have enough volunteers, we have staff members who are appointed to cases. Currently our staff is overwhelmed with the amount of cases. Due to the 30% increase in CHINS cases, the whole system is overworked. We need more community volunteers to help provide better representation to children, so they are not lost in the system. The time and dedication our volunteers can give these children provides them more positive outcomes for their future.
So what’s our plan? Here’s a couple of agenda’s we’re working on for 2015 to increase our volunteer base….
- Increase media attention. Use of billboards, PSA, commercials, news articles, ads to create public awareness for our need and our mission.
- Hold monthly training classes/lunch learns to accommodate a variety of schedules. Making it easier for individuals to learn about being a CASA and be trained to be a CASA volunteer
- Ministry of Caring Initiative. We’re reaching out to African American faith based community to potentially increase our African American volunteer base. We would like to have enough CASA volunteers to match need of the kids in the community. “Our pool of volunteers is very diverse. However, the children entering the system are disproportionate to the population of the city. I’d like to see us have a volunteer base that matches the need of the community”
- Targeted emphasis on recruiting Hispanic and Latino casa volunteers. Working with a committee formed from members of the community and Child Advocates to help brainstorm ways to reach Hispanic and Latino potential volunteers. We currently have 4 bilingual casa volunteers and two Hispanic GAL’s. typically around 200 cases in the systems at any time that are in need of a bilingual volunteer.
- Board members have agreed to make this the “Year of the volunteer”. Each one of our board members have taken on the mission to help with volunteer recruitment efforts.
The volunteer Program consists of 3 staff members. Their roles include ….
As Volunteer Program Director, my primary responsibility is to recruit and train volunteers. As well as assist in continued training for volunteers. Researching and analyzing what makes a good CASA volunteer and how to retain volunteers. Work with our ED to make sure our volunteers represent the mission of our agency. Help continue to spread the word of our need and our objective to get every child in Marion County the representation they deserve. All children have a voice.
Dionne Jones, Volunteer Coordinator … she is the nuts and bolts behind the scenes of the volunteer program. She collects the applications and does all the necessary paperwork for each volunteer. She does all background checks and facilitates one on one interviews. Does all the data entry and keeps track of the stats of current volunteer base. She communicates personally with each potential volunteer to make sure they are ready to training. She helps with volunteer recruitment by attending fairs, workshops and community events where promotion of Child Advocates is possible.
Jennifer Dean, Community Outreach Liaison, is part of the Volunteer Recruitment and Training Program at Child Advocates, Marion County GAL/CASA organization. Jen participates in the recruitment of new CASA volunteers with a focus on creating strategic connections with civic minded businesses, organizations, faith based groups, alumni associations, city and state employers and other larger entities that could potentially funnel appropriate volunteers to Child Advocates. Jen works closely with the Volunteer Coordinator and Program Director as well as the Marketing and Communications Manager in effort to support the work of recruitment and increase public awareness of Child’s Advocate and our mission.
Looking to 2015….
I would love to be able to have a surplus of CASA volunteer so that we can better match the strengths of the CASA’s to the needs of the child. To have a pool of volunteers to pick from would be a wonderful thing. I also plan to have the best trained CASA volunteers in the state of Indiana!
For more information on being a CASA volunteer, or for questions/comments about this article please contact: Adrienne Reed, Volunteer Program Director: 317-493-2212 or email@example.com.