Volunteer Awarded for Advocacy.

CASA Bruce Meyer stood in front of fellow child advocates this July and shared, “Everyone in this room makes a difference and if I — if we — inspire our neighbors, our neighborhoods, our communities to make a difference. Well, then we are on to something!”

That day, Bruce accepted the “Community Advocate” award from the San Diego County Juvenile Justice Commission for his work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. Through Voices for Children, Bruce has been matched with four youth over the past four years.

During his time as a CASA, Bruce has learned that youth in foster care or the juvenile justice system often “see themselves as a statistic.” However, he says, “Once the youth trust you, they will believe you when you tell them how great they are, how valuable they are.”

Bruce is one of more than 1,300 volunteers who advocated on behalf of youth in San Diego County last year. The role of a CASA has two key objectives: get to know the child or youth to understand his or her needs, worries, hopes, and dreams, and use that information to advocate for the child’s best interest to the judge making decisions on the case. Through reports they submit to the court, CASAs have the opportunity to profoundly impact a child’s future. In fact, because of the care and attention afforded to each case, the court accepts 85 percent of the recommendations made by Voices for Children’s CASAs.

Bruce says, “My goal when I became a CASA was to make a difference in one life, just one.” Not only has he accomplished that goal, but he has inspired those around him to invest in the lives of children — the future of our community.