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A Message from the Executive Director | Connections During This Time of Isolation

Ann McAlpinBy Ann McAlpin, Executive Director | CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County

In this time that is marked, even named, with isolation, I am finding surprising connections.

Taking an unusual moment to thank the kid checking out my groceries (sadly, no toilet paper!) for working—and him making eye contact with genuine gratitude.

A church service over Zoom, where I see two hundred people in their living rooms, in their real lives, in their favorite chairs, in their most comfy clothes, each waving and saying a heartfelt hello.

My elderly neighbor walking her dog, who stops the regulation six feet away—we talk about how when this is over we’ll have a Ladies of the Neighborhood get-together. And we have conversations like this every time she passes with Pickles.

My friends from the office who text me more times during a day than we would speak if we were all there in person.

Facebook being newly, genuinely interesting, newly authentic—with people telling real stories of how they’re coping.

Making connections happen

We make connections happen, even in this time of deliberate isolation. Fate does not have to determine our destiny.

At CASA, we now have 225+ volunteers who are staying in contact with their kids, even though they cannot visit in person. These are kids who have been dealt a serious blow in life—a blow much more high-impact than most of us will feel from these weeks of imposed isolation. Kids for whom fate and statistics would say are headed for a life of difficulty. But just like imposed isolation does not have to mean loneliness—parental neglect and abuse do not have to lead to a lifetime of insurmountable problems. We at CASA are committed and determined to help every one of these kids have the best life possible, in spite of the hand they have been dealt. And I believe with my whole heart that we can make a difference for these kids.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

This month would normally be filled with large-scale efforts aimed at raising awareness about child abuse – city proclamations, a community concert at Market Street, informational gatherings to learn more about volunteering or fostering or adopting. While the events have been cancelled, our efforts do continue. They must continue.

Despite the challenges surrounding all of us at this time, I am reminded of a favorite quote.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” (Edward Everett Hale)

You can help

How can you help? As you connect with others – your neighbors, your family, your friends – take a moment to talk about CASA Child Advocates. This helps us more than you know! Share our stories and social media posts. Visit our website for ongoing updates about how Advocates adapt to support our county’s most vulnerable children while the rules are changing daily. And if you’re not an Advocate but you’ve considered if this might be your way to “do something that you can do”, ask yourself if now just might be the ideal time. We are hosting our first-ever virtual Advocate training later this month which you can complete entirely from the safety of your home. When the Stay at Home order is lifted, you’ll be ready to step in to help in a new way!

And if you are already an Advocate, a donor, a volunteer in any way—thank you for choosing to “do something.” Thank you for continuing to help in this time of uncertainty.

Together, we can make a difference for these kids. Let’s do this!

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