Forum, Dec. 4: Advocate for Kids as a CASA Volunteer

Monday, December 03, 2018
Advocate for Kids As a CASA Volunteer

When I retired in 2009 I wanted a volunteer opportunity that would be meaningful and totally different from anything I had experienced thus far. After nine years as a court appointed special advocate, or CASA, I can honestly say that it fits the bill. There are sacrifices — driving time, court reports, court hearings, meetings, hard phone calls to make, and the reality of the horrible things these children have had to endure, but when my efforts result in a positive outcome for one of my CASA kids, it makes it all worth it.

CASA kids need an advocate. They need an adult who can get to know them, understand their situation, listen to their fears and hopes, and speak for them when they can’t speak for themselves. They need someone who is there to make sure that the child’s needs are the primary concern in all the decisions that will be made while the child is in state care. I can’t make everything all right, but I hope I can make a difference.

I have been appalled at some of the situations my CASA kids have experienced. I am constantly amazed at their spirit and resilience. Often I am frustrated with the overburdened system and its confusing complexities. However, I continue to be impressed with the dedication of the social workers who work through these complexities every day to do their best for the children in their care.

How do I get paid? A child’s smile when they see me, their hugs, asking me to come to school and have lunch with them, when they see me and say, “It’s my CASA, my BFF!”

CASA of New Hampshire has a need for more advocates in the Claremont, Newport, Lake Sunapee region. Training for new volunteer advocates will be held in Claremont beginning Jan. 7. If you are interested in learning more or in applying to become an advocate, visit www.casanh.org/volunteer or call Alicia in CASA’s Claremont office at 603-287-8285.

Clara M. Sheehy

New London

Green Mountain Power Deserves Kudos

Out of crises come inspiring acts of generosity and kindness.

The recent heavy snow caused a crisis around the region. Our utility, Green Mountain Power, showed 1,500 separate incidents. It was going to be a long one.

I came to know Mary Powell, the CEO of Green Mountain Power, a year ago during the big Christmas freeze, when what seemed like an all-too-frequent outage happened again. I sent off a when-is-this-going-to-stop email to the GMP service desk. In the morning I received a note from Powell. It said, “I understand your concerns. I have some information for you. Can I call you?”

She told me that, yes, Strafford had more than its share of outages and here is why. And here is what we are doing about it: new lines, trimming, Tesla Powerwalls and, oh yes, your power will be on in a few hours. Powell had done her homework.

Working out of a situation room in GMP’s Royalton office last week, Powell was fielding calls and emails, going out with crews to assess the damage herself. The office was open to the public for food, coffee, warmth, Wi-Fi.

Going on 48 hours without power at my place, waiting our turn, I emailed Powell that my elderly neighbor, who lives alone, was feeling “old and cold.” She responded, “I’m on it.”

Power was back on in our neighborhood within three hours. I called my neighbor and asked, “Is your power back on?” Yes, he said. “And do you know what? Someone from Green Mountain Power came up with two bags of food as they restored power. That is the nicest thing someone has done for me in years.”

Power failed this week, but our Vermont utility didn’t. I thanked Powell for what she did for my neighbor. She responded: “The team here is obsessed with our customers and we try to never forget what a responsibility, and a privilege, it is to be of service to them.”

Charles Denton


Lobbying Against Lobby At Spaulding Auditorium

Spaulding Auditorium is to be rebuilt, but does that include the hopeless “lobby”?

For more than 50 years it has worked this way for a sold-out performance: Half the house of 700 comes in from Lebanon Street and climbs the stairs, where it meets the other half in a space the size of a parking place. That group has come up another set of stairs from the box office, where many of the Lebanon Street patrons are trying to get to. (People with disabilities never go to Spaulding because they would have to ride up to the lobby in a steel box suitable for an abattoir.)

But this mess is only a prologue for intermission, when a third of the audience goes in one direction, and a third in the other. The last third? That has formed a human wall at right angles between the other two as it lines up for the inadequately equipped rest rooms.

Dick Mackay


Stop Kowtowing to the Murderous Saudis

What if members of President Donald Trump’s, Jared Kushner’s or Mike Pompeo’s families were abducted by order of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tortured to death and dismembered?

Would that be enough for these foul, immoral members of our government to stop kowtowing to the disgusting Saudi government?

Or would Trump’s and Kushner’s financial indebtedness to the Saudis and Pompeo’s addiction to power override their personal feelings toward even their own family members’ fates?

Alice Morrison

Newbury, Vt.

It’s Bipartisan Mayhem

Corruption is far too weak of a word. The Bushes, the Clintons and Barack Obama presided over a disgraceful state of lawlessness, degradation, looting, deception and mass murder. It was bipartisan mayhem.

The only people who still don’t understand what happened here are those who sit before their televisions, listening to the deceitful mouthpieces of the corporate mainstream media.

Neil Meliment


Let Them Rake Rocks

U.S. Border Patrol agents should consider a simple solution to the problem of what to do about migrants who occasionally throw rocks at them.

Just as President Donald Trump has pointed out that Western states could easily prevent forest fires by raking the forest floors, it should be no trouble for the Border Patrol to put an end to rock throwing by raking up rocks along the border.

Richard Andrews

Springfield, Vt.