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We’ve been working hard to help the abused and neglected youth in our community find safe, permanent homes. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately, along with some related information we think you may find interesting:

Inspiration is a fickle thing. It comes and goes with little warning. The good news is, you can always reignite inspiration when you’re feeling uninspired.

While summer is a time of fun, it can also be a time to help mold amazing qualities, like giving back to the community. Ask your children to choose an activity that also gives back

If you’re able, use World Blood Donor Day as a time to give back and save lives by donating blood. If you aren’t able to safely do so, consider helping out in one of the various other ways to help spread awareness.

Weather across the country is heating up, and it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy mother nature. As it turns out, when it comes to spending time outside, the benefits go far beyond the fresh air.

While the future is uncertain, mankind remains resilient. We’ve learned to adapt to a “new normal” and are slowly making our way back to activities that we set aside for more than a year. A lot has changed, and some of the new techniques and processes surrounding fundraisers, volunteering and fundraising are here to stay.

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday is all about honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This is the perfect holiday to exercise taking a day “on” instead of a day off.

To lead a fulfilled life, being healthy is about much more than just the physical. It involves your mental well-being, too. 

You don’t have to choose just one cause or organization to support. You can provide support for various causes and various organizations. Take the time to figure out what feels right for you and your own goals for doing good in the world.

May is recognized as National Recommitment Month. It’s a time of renewal and even to build new habits or relationships. What will you recommit to this month?

Now that the world is showing signs of getting back to a sense of “normalcy,” use this Earth Day as a reminder that when we all work together, we can make a difference.

After spending almost half of his life in a medical home for children, David, age 8, was recently adopted into a loving home. Despite the challenges and longevity of the case, Ashley, David's CASA, never gave up on him and saw his case through to adoption.

You have the power to continue to do good in the world and be the positive change, even with everything going on around us.

If you’re looking for a reason to get out there and do more good, look no further. April has been named Global Volunteer Month as a time to bring people together to volunteer from across the world.

It is with heavy hearts that CASA of Middlesex County mourns the sudden loss of Middlesex County Commissioner and Deputy Director, Mr. Kenneth Armwood. 

While times are undoubtedly hard, there is hope on the horizon. Use April’s National Month of Hope as a reminder to be a light in somebody’s life this month, including your own!

When you feel good, you’re more likely to do good in the world and at work. Make sure you’re able to set boundaries to help improve your work-from-home life.

You may not win the lottery tomorrow, or ever for that matter. But what we’re talking about is a different kind of ‘gold’ to make you feel rich in other ways. Check out these ways to feel fulfilled in your everyday life and to make each day golden.

There are those who enjoy crunching numbers, and those who would love to be doing anything else. With March underway and April just around the corner, you may be dreading a certain time of year that’s all but looming—tax time.

Spanish-speaking children in foster care too often have to wait longer than their English-speaking counterparts to be provided with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). CASAs serve a vital role in advocating for a child’s best interest in court and there are not enough bilingual CASA volunteers to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking children and families in Middlesex County. Last fiscal year, CASA of Middlesex County served 157 of the 352 children in Middlesex County who were in foster care during that time. Over a quarter of these children were Hispanic/Latino, and many of them speak Spanish as their native language.

By becoming a bilingual CASA volunteer, you can change the life of a Spanish-speaking child who has been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. You can make sure that a child feels listened to and understood, and that their voice is heard in court.

It’s impossible to put the best version of yourself out into the universe if you’re already starting at a disadvantage. Make sleep a priority and see the health benefits that affect your overall wellbeing.

Whether it’s doing something for you, your loved ones or members of your community, check out these ways to boost serotonin levels throughout these cold months.

Giving back your time as a board member is a fulfilling way to help make a difference for a cause that you love.

Giving back to the world starts with you. How will you focus on your mental health this week?

This year, instead of simply focusing on your loved ones, consider using February as a time to spread love all over your community. From small acts of kindness to lasting community connections, there are so many ways you can show love this month.

The Calvary Senior High Youth Group raised almost $1500 to support the wellbeing of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. The group decided to focus their efforts on raising funds to support hobbies and other resilience-building activities for children in the child welfare system. Many of our CASA kids are interested in hobbies like art, music, and cooking, but don’t have the supplies that they need. For these children, participating in arts activities can have a positive effect on self-confidence, self-esteem, relationship-building and a sense of belonging, qualities which have been associated with resilience and mental wellbeing.

As youth themselves, members of the UMC youth group know how impactful these types of supplies can be. “Through this fundraiser”, Eunice said “I hope to bring more awareness to CASA of Middlesex County, and help the youth that CASA of Middlesex County works with pursue the hobbies that they desire and find comfort in them. I was especially drawn to this cause, as I am also someone who enjoys baking and art. I hope that I can help more youth discover and pursue their passion in these hobbies, and find comfort in them like I do during these times.”

Devon and Deja are siblings who have spent over half of their childhoods in the Child Welfare System. While much of that time was spent apart, and each child was adopted by a different family, the children have maintained their connection, in part through the advocacy of their CASA volunteer, Audre. Audre served as the children’s CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate, from 2014 until they were both adopted last year. This past Christmas, Audre received a photo from the adoptive family of Deja, depicting Deja, Devon, and Deja’s adoptive family, dog and all, smiling in front of the Christmas tree.

Helping others can provide a new sense of purpose that may have been dwindling as a result of the new way of life we’ve endured in 2020. So in order to breathe new life into 2021 and beyond, it’s time to look outside ourselves and focus on others.

The good you put out into the world will not only benefit the organization you’re volunteering with, but also will leave your family feeling good about the positive work you’ve accomplished together.

People in your everyday life may be struggling much more than you know. So what can you do to help?

Just when you thought the holidays were over, the season of giving has extended into 2021. Use this month as a time to put good vibes out into the universe and continue giving.

While there may only be a few days left, there’s still time to put forth your best effort in 2020. Close out the year with one of these five acts to end on a high note.

This holiday season the Ong family of Old Bridge donated a $50 gift card to every youth aged 12 and up who has a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)--a total value of over $2,500--so kids who have faced abuse or neglect can have a happier season.

CASA advocates for children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Many of these youth feel like they have no control over their lives; they rarely get to make choices for themselves about what they want and need. For these youth, a $50 gift card is more than just a fun holiday gift; it is a way for them to take back some of their own agency by deciding what they want and need.

Help give the gift of advocacy to a child in need this holiday season by donating to CASA of Middlesex County at casaofmiddlesexcounty.org/donate.

While you’ve probably been looking ahead for quite awhile, it’s now time to think about how you’ll spread kindness and love in the coming year.

Giving back and spreading the love this holiday season is sure to make your friends, family and loved ones smile.

Whether donating money or time, giving back has been shown to make a positive impact that goes far beyond the initial act of giving.

Check out this wonderful article about CASA of Middlesex County in the Home News Tribune!

"CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Middlesex County specializes in happy endings for children in foster care....

CASA was able this year to help Jonathan into a safe, permanent home, the organization’s ultimate goal. Jonathan was adopted by Rose O’Hara and her husband.

"Everyone I met from CASA is upbeat, is positive, is loving and caring," O'Hara said. "They love doing what they’re doing. And that’s really hard to find these days. If you don’t know what CASA is, please find out, because they’re there to help. They’re awesome, really awesome."

CASA was grateful to be able to recommend such a loving and permanent home for this young man, Brown said.

This happy ending for Jonathan and the O'Hara family is repeated dozens of times each year through CASA for children who often are scarred emotionally, and sometimes even physically, by birth parents..."

On Giving Tuesday, every contribution counts, whether monetarily or otherwise. Check out these ways that you can participate in Giving Tuesday 2020 and beyond.

Read this post in the New York Times about how you can make a difference this holiday season. One suggestion? Volunteer with CASA!

"I recommend CASA because America’s foster care system is broken, and our 400,000 foster kids need help.

Only 58 percent of foster kids graduate from high school by age 19, and one-fifth are homeless within a year and a half of turning 18 and aging out of the system. By the age of 26, a majority of these young women and men have been arrested.

We can’t fix foster care overnight, but we can help these neglected kids negotiate a sometimes uncaring system — and that’s what CASA does. Volunteers provide support and advocacy for children who sometimes have no one else to trust, while helping them navigate the bureaucracy."

Click on the link to view the rest of the article. Head on over to casaofmiddlesexcounty.org/volunteer to learn about how you can volunteer to help children who have faced abuse and neglect in Middlesex County.

As the weather outside takes a downward dive, there are plenty of ways to lift spirits this holiday season. It’s time to spread warm wishes and cheer.

For nonprofit organizations around the world, year-end giving is a major boost to help reach giving goals.

CASA volunteers help ensure that children receive the services and supports they need while in foster care to help them thrive and to move more quickly toward a safe, forever home.

Finding a permanent placement for a child and closing their case is something worth celebrating. This month, we celebrate Gabriela’s permanent reunification with her mother!

While we can’t control what happens in 2020, we can all take steps toward remaining positive even on the most challenging days.

How will you practice thankfulness this November? These small but thoughtful actions can help remind you that there’s a lot to be thankful for this year.

On this holiday that usually centers around the scary, consider using it as a force for good.

There are plenty of ways to cheer up somebody you love, many of them only involving your time.

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