Self-image is tied up with self-worth. No one can create a healthy self-image for us…we must do it for ourselves. This is an especially difficult task for someone who has been abused. This goes for children as well as adults and any type of abuse: verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional. Changing the way we look at ourselves is hard, but it can be done. Issues of doubt pervade every aspect of decision making for the abused. All sorts of “What if …” enters conscious and subconscious thought. What if I fail? What if I’m not loved? etc. etc.
There is a large hole, left by the current or previous abuse, that is in constant need of refilling. In order to fill that hole…some overeat, some drink or use perscription drugs to numb the memories,some indulge in many unhealthy and unfulfilling relationships to make themselves feel “loved.” The end result is the same: there is no change in the level of self-worth.
We have convinced ourselves that our abuse was/is deserved because we aren’t worth anything better. We continue the abuse, literally, by now abusing our own minds and bodies. You give yourself the opportunity to heal when you realize how special and unique you are. What is your gift that only you can offer the world? Everyone has one…everyone. God has seen to that. It goes hand in hand that when you like yourself and have a positive self-image…others will like you as well. Knowing that we each have enormous self-worth is the ladder to healthy self-image.
by Sue Brown
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
There is nothing as wonderful as a healthy and well-loved child. Indeed, the children of today become the future of America in a relatively short period of time. If they are healthy, well cared for, and loved then our own future is also one of security and well being. But sadly, this often is not the case. There are so many children who are raised in a negative home environment and are abused or neglected—or sometimes both. It is easier to believe that it happens in other places, certainly not in “our town” or “our county,” but in reality it is everywhere in our country and in staggering numbers too.
Each year almost 800,000 children (teens too) in the United States are part of the court and child welfare system. They are no longer allowed to live in their own home because of nothing they did, but rather because the adults responsible for their care and well-being either couldn’t or won’t take proper care of them. This is where a CASA Volunteer is a valuable asset to the children in this position. As a CASA you are: screened, trained, supervised, and supported as a community volunteer who advocates for the best interest of abused and neglected children.
CASA may very well be the only volunteer organization that empowers everyday citizens as officers of the court. They are appointed by judges to watch over a child until that case is closed and that child is placed in a safe and permanent home. While others may come and go from the lives of these children, a CASA may very well be the one constant in their young lives. They are the ones that make a difference. After the initial 6 week training is over, a volunteer may expect to devote some 10 hours per month to the organization.
Last year alone, almost one quarter of a million abused and neglect children were helped by CASA volunteers. People who volunteer come from all backgrounds. Some have years of education and perhaps a background of working with children and families. While others may have been part of the foster care system or have grown up in a less than healthy and stable home. Therefore, they want the best for a new generation of young people. There are no set requirements for a volunteer other than a strong desire to make a child’s life better.