Between July 9th and July 13th, 2013, you will find resources about the important Voz De Niños mission as well as information about how you can help the many children in need throughout Webb County by checking the participating Laredo blogs!
READ THE POSTS IN OUR BLOGGING SERIES:
“Voz de Niños advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the court system through the training and support of community volunteers.
Voz de Niños is the local Court Appointed Special Advocate program serving the abused and neglected children of Webb County.
Established in 2007, Voz de Niños is the only organization of its type in Webb County because it participates solely in civil matters affecting abused and neglected minors.
Voz de Niños Volunteers are appointed to serve as Guardian ad Litem by the presiding court.”
To learn more about the growing need for volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates to abused and neglected children,
I interviewed two Voz De Niños Staff Members:
Alexis Herrera (Voz De Niños’ Volunteer Coordinator) and
Alicia Coronado (Voz De Niños’ Casework Supervisor).
The commitment to the challenging mission exhibited by these two ladies is inspirational.
Alexis’ career path is grounded in volunteerism from the time that she started her social work experience as part of the social work program at the University of Texas at Austin where she worked with children and families who faced poverty and home displacement. She witnessed the value of a proactive and involved community that acquired resources to aid the empowerment of its citizens.
Alicia hails from Chicago and worked with non-profits whose focus were in the areas of child issues, poverty and education before arriving to our City of Laredo.
Both women were drawn to Voz De Niños for the importance of the mission and the opportunity to be a part of the community’s growth and betterment.
I was surprised by what Alexis and Alicia had to say about the need in Webb County for volunteers to help children in the foster care system.
Here are some of the highlights.
CRITTERS AND CRAYONS: How Many Children Are In The Foster Care System?
VOZ DE NINOS: The number of children in foster care in Webb County in 2012 is at a shocking 705.
That’s 115 more than 2011. Some studies explain the increase due to the downturn economy and overall poverty; however, there are so many other factors that come into play: drug accessibility with a decrease in treatment services, parent disposition, mental health, etc.
Recruiting volunteers in general is difficult.
Voz De Niños finds it even more challenging because of what we are asking from volunteers: to give of their time and energy for a long period of time—cases generally take up to 12 months to resolve.
Moreover, a Voz De Niños volunteer advocate requires engaging in a personal relationship with a child or sibling group to fully understand their needs and voice them to the individuals that hold the authority to fulfill them (judge, CPS workers, foster parents, nurses, doctors, teachers, therapist, counselors, and biological parents).
For Voz De Niños, a qualified volunteer is someone who is both willing and able to give of themselves unconditionally to a child or sibling group and be an active advocate in an adult world where these children have no voice.
Thus, we have not had a drop in volunteers but have a difficult time finding them. We believe they’re out there, and we will continue to diligently search for these individuals who are welcomed to join the Voz De Ninos team!
CRITTERS AND CRAYONS: How Many Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers Are There?
VOZ DE NINOS: We have 22 volunteers manning 28 cases. Within the 28 cases there are 47 children.
CRITTERS AND CRAYONS: Can You Recall A Situation When A CASA Volunteer Made A Difference In A Child’s Life?
VOZ DE NINOS: There were two occasions when our CASA volunteers were the only ones to celebrate a child’s birthday.
…One in particular reminds me that our volunteers can make a difference in just one moment.
A CASA volunteer showed up at the foster home with a birthday present and cake for the CASA child.
Upon entering the home and seeing the child, the volunteer exclaimed,
“Here you go! Happy Birthday! It’s your day!”
And the child replied with,
I DIDN’T KNOW.”
Alexis and Alicia want to impress on the community that CASA volunteers make a lasting effect on a child’s life.
As dedicated staff members, they see the fear and frustration in the eyes of the children they are trying to help.
The children do not understand what is happening as they are stripped from the only caregiver(s) they have ever known.
Voz De Niños Staff and Volunteers have seen the hopelessness in youth that lead to poor academic performance, behavioral problems and seeming failures. But, they have also seen that CASA volunteers make a lasting effect on a child’s life by offering simple encouragement, an interest in the child, or a simple “Happy Birthday”.
I encourage everyone to watch
You can hear from CASA Volunteers who have made a direct impact in a child’s life for the better.
At the time it was published, the number of children in the program was under 600 and we have seen that number grow quickly to over 700.
You’ll see the impact and importance of this community program and the need for people to answer the call to help.
For More Resources
About Voz De Ninos
Find Voz De Niños On
Description of Volunteer Duties (Click To Enlarge)
And Don’t Forget To Enter The
Laredo Bloggers For Voz De Niños
Click The Image Below To Go To
The Give-Away Entry Form!
Many, Many Thanks To The Generous Sponsors Behind The Give-Away!
DO YOU THINK YOU CAN ANSWER THE CALL TO HELP CHILDREN IN NEED?
PLEASE CONTACT VOZ DE NINOS…..
THEY WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.