By Nancy Stewart
It’s easy to assume that all kids eagerly anticipate summers filled with trips to the pool, hikes in mountain canyons, and racing bikes to friend’s house to enjoy a popsicle in the shade. But, for many kids who find themselves in the child welfare system, summer can look very different. It can mean long days of boredom with endless TV watching or indoors playing video games. Many children who are placed outside their homes may have restrictions to free movement, no access to transportation, or access to a bike or skateboard. They may be expected to participate in activities with kids in their group home, whether they want to or not. At times, they may live with a caregiver with limited resources, both in time and money, who is unable to provide them with outdoor camps, sports equipment or trips to the pool or mountains. That’s where the CASA Volunteer comes in.
Our CASA Volunteers are always looking for fun ways to interact with the kids we serve, and the open summer days can offer great opportunities. Because Denver CASA Volunteers are allowed to transport the kids, they can help eliminate at least one barrier to accessing the fun summer activities we hope all kids can enjoy. In addition, Denver CASA plans a picnic every August, where the kids and the CASAs can get together to splash through a local splash park, and play games. We also enjoy the generosity of the Rockies baseball team, who donate tickets for use by the CASA Volunteers or the families. Here at Denver CASA, we hope that every child is able to enjoy the summer break, and we encourage our CASA Volunteers to take advantage of that free time to provide an outlet from the daily stress of their situation.
Of course, we don’t want our CASA Volunteers to burn holes in their own pockets paying for these activities, so we encourage our supporters to consider making a contribution this summer that helps provide activities for the CASA Volunteer and their kids. We have a “Fun Fund” that CASAs can utilize for special requests for summer camps, tutoring, as well as trips to amusement parks, museums, baseball games and other activities. In addition, our “Earn your Cape” campaign provides year-round activities, such as sponsoring a summer camp, or baking at the CASA House through one-time or recurring monthly donations.
You can spread the fun by helping a CASA Volunteer and the children we serve to enjoy the long, leisurely days of summer. Happy summer to everyone!