The city of Baton Rouge is one full of opportunities for growth, both for the community and the individual. One individual, Scottie Hunter, submitted a testimonial on how volunteering with the Capitol Area CASA Association changed his life. Read below to learn how.
After spending a little more than three years as a journalist in Baton Rouge, I’ve covered quite a bit. Some of those stories have been amazing but not every story ends well. So often, journalists cover situations that are hard such as abuse, neglect or domestic violence incidents. To deal with reporting some of those situations, we sometimes must emotionally separate ourselves from what’s happening to push through and meet a deadline. While it does help us cope, most times we aren’t afforded the luxury to invest too much thought before we’re forced to move on.
Despite the long hours and exhaustive requirements that come along with being an anchor/reporter, I was compelled to engage more in the community, but I wasn’t quite sure what exactly I wanted to do. That’s when I was introduced to CASA. I was anchoring one weekend when one of our reporters did a story about CASA and the desperate need for more volunteers, particularly African American men. The end of the story provided more information for volunteers and the script asked me to call on others in our community to consider giving back. The words stuck with me long after I read them and that is when I knew CASA was the answer.
Not only had I been the friendly face imploring others to find it in their hearts to volunteer with the organization, but I also fit the exact description of what the organization said they were hoping to find in their next crop of advocates. On top of that, I also felt drawn to helping children who had found themselves in unspeakable circumstances in the foster care system because I realize that I could have very easily ended up in the same situation. I lost both of my parents at a young age, but luckily, my sister was able to assume guardianship of me until my 18th birthday. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to make the most out of a difficult situation and realize that I owe a great deal of my personal success to the opportunity I was given. It was as if all the stars aligned at that moment to draw me to CASA. I knew that if I could provide even a fraction of the sense of hope and normalcy that I was given during the most difficult time of my life that I could not let the opportunity pass.
I’ve served as a CASA volunteer for almost a year now and I honestly cannot believe how much it has impacted my life. I won’t lie… it is a major commitment and something that I would strongly encourage anyone to truly think about to ensure they can fully be there for their CASA child and assigned case. In the past year I have discovered a hidden world of children’s activities in Baton Rouge that my eyes were blind to in my world of ‘adulting’. In that time, I have raced go-karts, gotten way too into a game of air-hockey and squealed in a brief, but pure, wave of excitement as I recovered the tickets that I won from an arcade game. On the other hand, I’ve also smiled to keep from crying while reviewing the harsh details of a case and I’ve stayed up far later than I should have some nights wrestling with how to perfectly craft a court report, knowing that my words carry such a tremendous weight on the future of a child’s life.
The bottom line is, I love that I made the decision to join CASA and I’m a huge advocate for anyone else who might also consider becoming a volunteer.
CASA is now accepting applications for the next training session which starts June 11. The first step to becoming a volunteer is to attend an orientation. For dates and more information, visit www.casabr.org or call 225-379-8598.