The Overlooked Benefit for Physical and Mental Health

A great career, loving family, and a diversified financial portfolio are some of the markers many consider part of success. A few other factors can make the list of what’s important for us to live our best life and can be as personal as each individual.

When reflecting on what fulfills you in your own life, there is one area that may end up at the bottom. At least it did for me.


It turns out, most people believe volunteering, or giving of our time and skills to benefit others, is important. Yet, many put off acting on that priority. According to BMC Public Health (2018), adults significantly benefit from volunteering with the highest results stemming from efforts that focus on helping others without personal gain. So basically, joining in an effort to assist people without expecting a promotion or recognition leads to better health. Volunteer benefits include physical and mental health as well as more satisfying social connections and less incidents of depression.

Who wouldn’t like that? Plus, true altruism makes the world a better place.

Yet, I have dodged that little tug in my heart to help so many times. What gives?

Grant it, we can’t do everything that comes along. But if a need is near and dear to you, it may be worth proceeding. That’s how my experience began with CASA.

May be an image of 1 person, child and text that says 'There are children in our community still waiting for α dedicated CASA volunteer to be their voice and advocate for them. will you be that person? CASA'

When I first heard of CASA, I wondered how helpful a court appointed special advocate could be when there are so many parties involved in the foster care system. As a previous social worker, I imagined that a CASA would take up more time from those already stretched thin. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. Then one evening, I watched a description of how a CASA can make a difference in a child’s life and it resonated with me. The idea of becoming a permanent person in a child’s ever-changing life pinched my heart just enough that I typed in the website and filled out the application. What could it hurt to check it out?

That’s what it took for me – a little toe in the water. Then step by step, I started swimming. I’ve discovered that a CASA is a unique role that can pull together missing pieces of a child’s experiences, ultimately revealing the best path forward for a young person. Social workers and attorneys have limited time and so many cases that make it nearly impossible to keep abreast of all the information in the families before them.


I had a great experience throughout my training that provided me with a knowledgeable and supportive mentor. The process of becoming a sworn advocate has been an exciting journey I wish I had begun sooner. I’ve joined of a web of people involved in a child’s life in such a meaningful way. I continue to learn so much and constantly meet people who also want to change the cycle of child mistreatment. Joining in a collective endeavor where I’m growing and developing new skills is a reward in and of itself.

I have interviewed family members, school counselors, therapists, social workers, and of course a special young person I now have an ongoing relationship with who has shared dreams and goals for a bright future. I can already see how my court involvement, relationships, and consistent presence can be a vital part of the team. Most unexpectedly, I feel that I have benefited more from the experience and wish I could do more for the CASA organization.


May be a graphic of 1 person, child and text that says 'Connecting youth to holistic opportunities strengthens their future outcomes. Children's Bureau Child ChildWelfare Welfare Information Gateway childwelfare.gow/fostercaremonth'


Volunteering does help us keep our personal issues in perspective and focuses us on the bigger picture. Our neighborhood, community and beyond need us too. Doing for others turns our thoughts and actions beyond how we look or compare to others and remind us of what’s really important.

I encourage you to check out CASA if that’s a possible fit for you. If not, search for your way of giving back to the world and see how it changes your view of success!  Check out:

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