COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- This week, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region gained ten new Court Appointed Special Advocates, all sworn in as officers of the court to advocate for kids in situations of abuse or neglect.
It's a moment of celebration for the nonprofit, as the program is working to meet the needs of around 175 kids that are currently without an advocate.
"CASA exists to advocate for children who through no fault of their own, have entered the child welfare system and the family court system," said Keri Kahn, Communications Director for the Pikes Peak CASA affiliate. "Because they've been abused, they've been neglected or they've experienced severe domestic conflict."
Of the 800 children in the Pikes Peak area that need support every year, CASA was able to pair volunteers with 625.
"That's great, that's 625 lives changed," said Kahn. "But we obviously want to close that gap and serve every child that needs us. So we are asking the community to come forward and become CASA volunteers."
Each CASA volunteer is assigned to one case, assisting either one kid or multiple siblings in a family. As their advocate, the volunteer learns about their living situation and home life and gives a judge recommendations on how to handle the specific case.
"No child is just like another child," said Kahn. "They have unique needs when it comes to education or the placement where they're in or therapy that they might be seeking. So the volunteers, when they have just one case, they can really dive into the details, get to know the specifics, and kind of fill in those gaps for the judge so that the judge can make the best possible decision."
Mary Moffett has served as a CASA volunteer for eleven years.
"I had heard a story about a little boy that kind of got lost in the system, and nobody was paying attention," said Moffett. "And this little boy ended up being found in a suitcase on the side of a highway, and it broke my heart. And I thought I'm going to be somebody that looks out for these kids that are forgotten in our society."
She got her start in Montana and when she moved to Colorado, she knew she wanted to continue helping kids through the program.
"I let Pikes Peak CASA know, 'I'm an experienced CASA, I'm coming to Colorado Springs,' and right away they had a case for me with six children. So it was very exciting to just make that move and not lose any time," said Moffett.
Throughout her time she says she has watched the light come on in children's lives who seemed to have no hope. She's watched illiterate kids learn to read, children who were not eating find nourishment, and children that she's worked with go on to receive a college education.
"At the end of the day, just knowing that you're making a difference in the lives of these families is very rewarding," said Moffett. "And you just want them to all have a chance. You want the kids to have a chance."
Volunteering with CASA requires a 3 to 5-hour-a-week time commitment. Though Moffett has a full-time job, she believes making time for the work CASA does is wholly worth it.
Those who are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer can attend the upcoming volunteer information sessions on Aug. 3, Aug. 24, or Sept. 7.
Interested individuals can RSVP for one of the one-hour information sessions here.