New Year’s resolutions come in all different shapes and sizes. Although some choose to improve their lives by embracing different methods of self-help, many people in our community resolve to help others. One way they do so is by lending support to different worthy causes. Each year, people in our community vow to give, organize and collaborate with each other to support Child Advocacy Services and its CASA and CAC programs. We get to see the best in people when community members work together to support programs that give a voice to children in need.

The children we serve often comment how surprised they are to learn of individuals, businesses and groups who care enough about them to help, even though they’ve never met them. It is an honor to work in communities with individuals who care so much about children. The gifts we receive and investments people make in our organization make the work we do a little easier. To know we have such great support is priceless.

Child Advocacy Services likes to recognize these individuals and groups through its Buttons of Bravery Program. Each partner and supporter of Child Advocacy Services is an important thread in a child’s life and ties the community directly to the children. Each commitment to the program contributes to an entire year of services for children in need of services. These services include recruitment of CASA volunteers, expert forensic interviews, advocacy, counseling services and delivery of preventive education to both children and adults.

Brave children are asked to share their stories of abuse every day. Courageous adults help these children through their trauma and assist them in finding safe and secure homes. The Buttons of Bravery program represents the journey of one child for one year under the care and service of CAS.

Companies and groups in the community that participate in this program are people you know: North Oaks Health System, Louisiana 1st Choice Auto Auction, Eatel, Central Rexall Drugs, Household of Faith Church, Bracy’s Nursery, Epic, George Ibert Jewelry, Rob and Tara Peltier, Re-Bath of Baton Rouge, Kristen and Chad Beard, Bruce Beard, First Presbyterian Church of Hammond, Beryl Ramsey, Burns Estate Planning, C & S Wholesale Grocers Inc., Ochsner Health Center-River Parishes, Ozuna Painting, Leadership Tangipahoa, Garden City Group, Paul Spalitta, Celeste Layrisson, Ponchatoula Jaycees, Shell Oil Company Foundation, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Wal-Mart Foundation, Edgar Starns, Rotary Club of Hammond and many others.

Because of these life-changing resolutions made by co-worker groups, corporations, small businesses, civic organizations, church groups and individuals, we are able to help more people by providing services directly to children. On a final note, although funding is important, individuals that resolve to give their time to become CASA volunteers are one of our greatest resources. You can’t put a value on the benefit of having a CASA involved in the life of a child. That is where people can truly make a difference. Please consider this when making a New Year’s resolution of your own.

For more information on the Button of Bravery Program or on becoming a CASA volunteer, call CAS at (800) 798-1575 or visit childadv.net.

Ginger B. Cangelosi

community outreach director,

Child Advocacy Services

Hammond