Wednesday, October 01, 2014

CASA work focuses on children

By ABBY CROSTHWAIT, Herald Staff Writer | 4/22/2013

For some retirees, working after retirement is the furthest thing from their minds. For volunteer Cynthia Montague, however, it was another way to spend time with children.

“I started [volunteering at Court Appointed Special Advocates] after I retired a couple years ago from my 30 years of teaching in Franklin County,” Montague said. “People think retirement is a time you don’t do anything, but it’s very busy. It was important for me to help the kids in the community even though I wasn’t working with the children in the school system anymore.”

For some retirees, working after retirement is the furthest thing from their minds. For volunteer Cynthia Montague, however, it was another way to spend time with children.

“I started [volunteering at Court Appointed Special Advocates] after I retired a couple years ago from my 30 years of teaching in Franklin County,” Montague said. “People think retirement is a time you don’t do anything, but it’s very busy. It was important for me to help the kids in the community even though I wasn’t working with the children in the school system anymore.”

Court Appointed Special Advocates are appointed by judges to be advocates for abused and neglected children to ensure they don’t get lost in the social services system, according to the organization’s website. The volunteers work with case managers on children’s well-being and act as additional resources for judges when making decisions about the children.

“We spend time writing reports for the judge any time your case comes up in court,” Montague said. “We write a report on the child’s home situation and school situation, as well as anything going on medically with the child.”

The amount of time spent with a young person varies depending on whether the child is in school, she said. Spending time with the children and bringing fun and positivity is what’s most important.

“We’ve gone to the pool, to the movies and to ballgames,” Montague said. “It’s important though, for these kids especially, to hear that they’re a good kid and how much potential you see in them because these are kids who have real self-esteem issues, and they need an adult that looks at them as the precious kids they really are.”

Montague has served with CASA since 2001, never hesitating in her dedication to children and their needs, Wendy Rossman, CASA volunteer coordinator wrote in a nominee application for Montague.

“Cynthia proactively seeks opportunities to better herself, the CASA program and the community as a whole,” Rossman wrote. “Cynthia never asks for anything in return for all that she does, although it has been discovered that the occasional chocolate is much appreciated.”

Montague was humbled in accepting her nomination as an outstanding volunteer in Franklin County, saying she “thought someone else should be recognized.”

“We have a lot of people that have done a lot for CASA,” she said.

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