Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

THE CASA IRONY

There are plenty of wannabe volunteers - but not enough people to supervise them.

THE CASA IRONY

My column yesterday about CASA-Philadelphia - the local chapter of the national nonprofit called Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children - is generating some nice interest from potential volunteers. 

You'd think this was good news.  When it comes to good-hearted people advocating on behalf of abused and neglected kids, the more the merrier, right?

The probem is, CASA protocols require the organization to have a paid, fulltime supervisor for every 25 volunteers. And CASA doesn't have the funds to hire all the supervisors they'd need to oversee the many volunteers already on a waiting list to be trained.

"We're unsual that way," CASA-Philly executive director Wendy Aguirre told me on Monday at the Shops at Liberty Place, where her group kicked off a local awareness campaign about the issue of kids in foster care. "Philadelphians really step up when it comes to volunteering."

Given that not everyone has the time to be a CASA advocate, I'd like to extend an invitation to you, oh faithful readers, if you're touched by CASA's missions, to open your wallet to the organization so they can hire people to oversee those who do. No amount is too small.  Or - ahem - too large. To make a donation, click here.

On a separate note, I didn't have space in my column to name CASA's new grads, whose swearing-in ceremony I attended last week. Please join me in wishing them good luck, wise heads and strong hearts.

They are:

Lorien Gilbert, Denise Oetzel, Natalie Hall, Carol Hughes, Sheila McDade, Stephanie Anderson, Stacey Moore, Kathy McLaughlin, Sherrye Giggers and Cindy Blum.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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