This coming year is already off to a great start. Our first training of the year is already full and it looks like we have a waiting list! So what else is happening next year?
An important focus for us next year is community. We’re really looking to extend our presence into the Denver community in a new way. Our first step has been to meet with individuals from all over the city and ask if they would be interested in becoming an “Ambassador” for Child Advocates – Denver CASA. (If you would like to be an Ambassador, be sure to let us know!) Many other CASA programs have this role, and we’re hoping to develop it in a way that works for us. Specifically, we’re looking for people to represent and connect us to their neighborhood, whether it’s letting us know about an important community event or personally speaking on behalf of the organization. We’re open to any ideas, so feel free to contact any of us with them.
Another focus is outcomes. As some of you might know, prior to coming to Child Advocates—Denver CASA, I worked at the state office. One of my last projects there was helping with the creation of outcomes for the CASA program in Colorado. While there is still a great deal of work to do, we have asked our most recent classes of volunteers to help. We have asked new volunteers because the framework requires capturing information from the very beginning of a case. With that said, if anyone is interested in learning more about this framework, I would be more than happy to talk about it with you. We do consider this a pilot year and we expect to learn some things in the process. Yet we expect to have some results too. And let me mention one last thing, outcomes and data need to be communicated back to our stakeholders for the whole process to be relevant. It’s important that everyone see and understand the results, and we will work hard to do that.
The last focus for the year will be strategizing around something called the Peer Coordinator model. It’s a new idea that has come from National CASA, and a few programs in Colorado have begun to implement it within their organizations. It’s a little “outside the box” and in simple terms it involves utilizing volunteers to help other volunteers directly. The end result is to extend more support to volunteers, which, should the model be implemented faithfully, results in higher volunteer retention and perhaps fulfillment. Full implementation of the model would also allow the organization to serve more kids, which is the most important thing! Yet it also means inviting volunteers into higher levels of decision making and leadership. This will take a lot of planning and won’t be something we do quickly, but this planning is on the horizon for next year. Don’t hesitate with any questions.
I wish everyone happy holidays and a happy new year. I’m so honored to be a part of this organization. Thank you for all your support!