YUMA, Ariz. (KSWT/KYMA/KECY) - In Yuma County, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are the ones that step in to care for our youth in foster care. Thru mentorship and advocacy, these important individuals are all volunteers.
Some of those volunteers are military veterans that sacrificed their lives in the battlefront who are still giving back to their community and making a difference in the lives of children
1 out of 6 foster children in Arizona has a CASA volunteer, these volunteers are the eyes and ears in court for children in the system.
Two volunteers, who are military veterans, say that the reason why they have stayed on as volunteers is because of the trust the system has on them as former members of the armed forces.
'The discipline' that's what Delores Porter, an Army veteran who was once stationed at Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG), says is one of the skills she gained in the military that helps her be a successful advocate.
Porter decided Yuma was the perfect place to retire many years later after she served, but she ended up also integrating into her community as a special advocate.
Porter said, “We are the one constant in their [foster youth] life because they might have different attorneys but the CASA will always be the same.”
Jerry Durden, another veteran who has continuously given back to his community through his involvement and volunteer work with other organizations, stays hopeful that the foster youth he works with will be back with their family one day.
“Seeing the child get reunited with their family if that happens that's my goal,” said Durden. “That's what I would like to see happen”
Once a Navy pilot that would fly in and out of Yuma, Durden would come often back eventually making it the place where he retires.
Both veterans share the same devotion to give back to the youth of their community in an attempt at giving them a chance to a fulfilling life.
Porter and Durden encourage more veterans to become a CASA. The program currently counts with 47 active special advocates assigned to over 110 children, leaving around 128 children still in need of a CASA.
For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.azcourts.gov/casaofyumacounty.