Henrico Libraries helps Change a Child’s Story

 Henrico CASA and the Henrico County Public Library have discovered an affinity, their affection for stories. You may think of the library’s fondness for stories in the form of books. But their mission extends to not only promote reading, but to enrich community life. CASA’s devotion to story is different. Their work focuses on the stories of individual children who have experienced abuse or neglect. They can’t change the past for these children, but they can change their futures by advocating for their needs in the present.

This April, the Library hosted one of CASA’s Home for Good® playhouses at their Libbie Mill branch. Barbara F. Weedman, Director of the Henrico County Public Library, said, “Henrico County Public Library is honored to be a part of this wonderful project in support of CASA and Henrico’s children. What better, natural fit than “A Magic Treehouse” playhouse with a storybook theme created by youth at CTE at Henrico County Public Schools, for library visitors and families to see at Libbie Mill Library! We love being a part of this collaboration and hope it is of great benefit to CASA, kids, and the community.”  

And a great benefit it was! Through the Home for Good® event, Henrico CASA expects to meet its goal of raising $150,000, which funds court advocacy for 100 additional children this year. This funding is crucial because 223 children have already been appointed to CASA by Henrico’s judges in 2024. This is a 10% increase over last year and is expected to continue to grow as a result of challenges facing families in our community. The success of Home for Good® in terms of raising funds and recruiting volunteers allows CASA to meet these rising needs. Together we can ensure every child in Henrico County has a safe, healthy home.

Read More

Volunteering: Improve Your Well-being AND That of the Ones You Serve

Volunteers support meaningful work at no cost to those being served. There are noticeable gains on the receiving end, and it usually makes a volunteer feel good on the giving side. Moreso, science shows that volunteering has additional value for the charitable side.

There are mental benefits from doing good, like confidence when you know you are making a difference. There are unexpected physical benefits, as well. Here are just five of the many ways that volunteering is proven to be advantageous for your health1:

  • Decreases risks of depression and anxiety
  • Releases endorphins, which make you feel happier
  • Improves activity levels and overall physical health
  • Reduces stress through a renewed sense of purpose
  • Lowers blood pressure

The combined effect of these health benefits shows that volunteering strengthens your overall well-being. So maybe it’s not surprising to note that volunteering can also extend your life. “Researchers say that people over 50 years old who volunteer for about two hours weekly have a considerably lower risk of death.” 2

Do good. Live longer. It sounds great, but it takes time, and time is a resource that we often lack. So here’s the irony—studies3 also show that your time feels meaningful when you share your time with others. In response, you feel like you have more time and more time to give.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please consider sharing your time with Henrico CASA to help improve the well-being of local children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Last year, Henrico CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc.) served 385 children and teens whose families were in crisis. Judges in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court-appointed volunteer CASAs for each of these children. CASAs spoke up for these children, working with County employees in court and the community, promoting the children’s well-being, and establishing a network of supportive connections.

Connecting with Henrico CASA is yet another way for Henrico employees to work to better our community. Advocates are everyday people who leverage the many services our county offers to work towards ensuring every child has a safe, healthy, and loving home. To learn more about volunteering with CASA, visit www.HenricoCASA.org.

[1] SummaHealth

2 StudyFinds

3 Stanford.edu

Read More