"There is such a tremendous need for your help!"
Thankful for her loving home, Jean Pirih, 63, of Brookings, Oregon, wanted to give back and do something productive with children during her retirement by working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Jean: I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children in Curry County, OR. Once trained and appointed a CASA, we are assigned a case and commit to it for at least a year. We are the voice of the child in Court. We spend time with the child and interview parents, foster parents, teachers and anyone else who has a connection with the child. We check the validity of responses, frequently requesting help from CWS and law enforcement. We appear at court hearings and submit our court report and recommendations on behalf of the child. Our goal is a safe, permanent, loving situation for the child.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Jean: CASA of Curry County, Oregon.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Jean: When the child is removed from his home, we try to be the one consistent person in his life for that year. We work hard to discover his wants and needs and present them to the Court.
What inspired you to get involved?
Jean: Being very thankful for my loving home, I wanted to give back and do something productive with children during my retirement.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Jean: Three years prior to applying, I read about CASA in a newspaper article. I saved it, and after retiring, contacted the local CASA office and began the application/training process.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Jean: The satisfaction and peace of mind when I'm comfortable about my case child's permanent placement, and when I know that the child is happy, too.
What is/was the hardest part?
Jean: The frustration of working hard atinvestigating the case participants and still not being able to provide conclusive evidence to the judge that the child should not be placed in a certain situation.
What was the biggest surprise?
Jean: That CWS and CASA have had problems working together.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Jean: Bare minimum standards is a criteria for placement and the number of children who are abused and neglected in Curry County. I am more aware of the less fortunate and the obstacles they face in everyday life.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Jean: Do it now — there is such a tremendous need for your help!
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