After learning about it at Kiwanis, I decided to become a volunteer in the CASA program that is about to get started in Dunklin County. The idea is similar to that of the medieval champion, which is one of the reasons it appeals to me, I think. Just as Wilfred of Ivanhoe could take the field to succor the helpless Rebecca from the evil Knights Templar, so can you be a friend and advocate for an abused or neglected child.
It would hardly surprise you to find that there is a great deal of training required. That starts next week, and I suspect it may generate a post or two. It would also hardly be surprising that references are required and that background checks are part of the process. Those parts of the application are pretty straightforward. Part two of the application gets a little more thorny.
"Please answer the following questions in paragraph form on a separate piece of paper.
1. Write a short summary about your interest in volunteering and how you hope to benefit from the volunteer experience.
2. Briefly explain what led to your decision to apply for a position in the CASA program.
3. Briefly explain your philosophy of parenting, including the rights and responsibilities of both parents and children.
4. Briefly explain what role you believe society should play in: a. protecting the rights of children, and b. helping a family overcome hardships and remain living together as one unit.
5. Please write a one page autobiography."
The first four took me quite a while to complete. Tonight I tackle the biography. First I thought I’d just paste in my bio from the clinic website, but I don’t think that works. It’s really more of a resume, plus it’s too long. Of course, anything I write is too long. If I just listed all the times that being a smart-aleck got me in trouble, that would go longer than the one page (and that’s with no details — just a list).
You can do this yourself. In one page, write a coherent account of your life, including all the things you feel are most important… or maybe including what you think someone else will feel is most important. Will it be Jack Webb style: "Just the facts, ma’am"? Will you hit the high points and ignore the low, or would that leave out something pretty important? I suggest that we resist the temptation to use this as therapy. Maybe I’ll just use the clinic bio after all, but I’m going to at least give it a shot.