by Donna McBride, Program Administrator/Public Information Officer, CASA Unit of Pinal County Juvenile Court
One powerful method of self-care is giving ourselves to others. Spending time with others, focusing on the needs of those we care about, and causes that benefit the community can help us gain new perspectives on life while doing something positive that matters.
But none of that comes without a price if we don’t take care of ourselves.
The CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program made it a priority to support the mental and emotional health of our advocates during the COVID pandemic.
Our volunteers help children overcoming severe challenges in the foster care system. They are involved in some of the worst cases of child abuse. As they get to know the child and what they’ve gone through, it’s important for the volunteers to stay grounded in healthy thought processes, too.
Instead of court hearings in person during the pandemic, they were held virtually or by phone. Volunteers still checked in on their child by telephone, Zoom video chat or simply driving by and waving from their car.
They met in the park, stood in the front yard, or dropped off care packages on the child’s doorstep.
CASA of Pinal County hosted dozens of peer support groups virtually. Not only to discuss cases but to find out how people were juggling the challenges of family, work, and volunteering during isolation.
During one evening zoom call, we hosted a “Yappy Hour” where volunteers introduced their furry friends. We found volunteers were balancing their lives with self-care options like meditation, exercising, reading, or taking up a new hobby.
As you explore opportunities to volunteer in your community, take time to ask the organization how they encourage self-care — there must be a balance to your life, not a burden.
Consider CASA as an organization that can help you find that balance and fulfillment. Find out how you can promote your own self-care by joining the CASA of Pinal County volunteer team, check out www.azcourts.gov/casaofpinalcounty, or call 520.866.7076.
Volunteering can provide fun, challenging opportunities and a change of pace from our daily responsibilities. Volunteering:
- Reduces stress, anxiety
- Reduces social isolation
- Empowers us to make new friends and practice social skills
- Increases self-confidence by providing a sense of accomplishment
- Helps us stay physically and mentally healthy
- Instills new skills and provides new experiences