CASA Volunteer of the Month – Art Bunn – A Life of Service
Each month, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) celebrates the advocacy of one of our CASA volunteers. This month, we celebrate the service of Art Bunn, a long-time volunteer advocate in Ottawa County.
If you ever meet Art Bunn, it won’t take long to recognize that his life is dedicated to serving others. This service-oriented life began with Bunn serving as a Marine for four years. After the service, Bunn settled down to start a family. He enjoyed a very successful career in sales, but always wanted to be able to give back. Bunn was able to retire early and it wasn’t long before he found his calling with CASA.
Bunn’s late wife showed him an ad in the paper for CASA and thought it aligned with his passion for children and service. Bunn immediately poured himself into volunteering for Colorado’s 8th Judicial District CASA. It did not take long before they asked him to serve as the Board President. That all took place in the early ‘90s, and other than a brief break from volunteering, Bunn has been an outstanding volunteer ever since.
After the passing of his first wife, Bunn moved to Oklahoma and remarried. The death of his wife was difficult and the relocation took some time. But through it all, Bunn never lost his servant’s heart and passion. Of course, now he has found companionship, remarried, and is an honorary Oklahoman.
For as many years as Bunn has dedicated to CASA, he certainly has some great success stories. Most of them took years before he saw the payoff, but he knew all along he was helping the kids in his cases. Bunn tells of running into a young man about eight years after he had been a CASA kid. The young man was engaged to be married, had a good job, and was doing really well. Although it was eight years after Bunn had helped this young man, it was rewarding to see the effect of his work.
Another success revealed years after the case was actually the life-change in a young mother. Bunn served her case and years later he bumped into her on his morning walk. She had cleaned herself up, was free from her drug addiction, newly married, and had a baby. Thanks in part to Bunn’s service, she had turned her life around and had become a happy and healthy wife and mother.
When asked what he would tell potential volunteers, Bunn said, “It can be very rewarding. It can be heartbreaking at times. You have to be open to both. But it’s… it’s great to see the potential for growth and for the kids’ lives to be meaningful. Often times the kids come from homes that don’t give them the support they need.”
Bunn describes his work as a consistent process that takes years before the effect is evident. He even described his service as unremarkable; however, his service has affected countless kids and families over the years and that is anything but unremarkable. In fact, we believe it is quite extraordinary.
Volunteer Your Time to Change a Child’s Life
Nobody longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care. As a court-appointed special advocate CASA volunteer, you are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality. You will not only bring positive change to the lives of these vulnerable children, but also their children and generations to come. And in doing so, you will enrich your life as well.
What Do CASA Volunteers Do?
CASA volunteers listen first. Then they act.
Volunteers get to know the child by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.
Who Can Be a Volunteer?
You do not have to be a lawyer or a social worker to be a volunteer. We welcome people from all walks of life. We are simply looking for people who care about children and have common sense. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case.
You must be at least 21, pass a background check, participate in a 30-hour pre-service training course and agree to stay with a case until it is closed (a year and a half on average).
What Are the Requirements to Be a CASA?
- Demonstrates emotional maturity
- Is objective and flexible
- Exhibits self assurance and assertiveness
- Has the ability to make decisions and set goals
- Is willing to commit to the program for a minimum of 24 months
- Demonstrates the ability to write and speak clearly and concisely
CASAs are not:
- CASAs are not Big Brothers or Big Sisters
- CASAs are not attorneys
- CASA are not social workers
- CASAs are not rescuers
- Friends of the Court
- Eyes and ears of the Court
- Independent and objective people who represent the child’s best interest
Do you live outside the five counties we serve and want to volunteer in your community? Go to www.oklahomacasa.org to find a program near you.
CASA Video: I Am for the Child
Did you know that 400,000 children in America are still waiting for their CASA volunteer? Waiting for that one trusted adult who will stick with them until their case is resolved. Waiting because today CASA can serve only 35% of the children in the foster care system. Waiting for YOU!
CASA Video: Everyday Heroes
Everyday Heroes highlights CASA volunteers making a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. It provides a rare opportunity to hear directly from children about their homes before and after a CASA volunteer came into their lives.
Use Link to Become a CASA Volunteer
Are YOU ready to become a CASA volunteer? Simply use the action button below to access the required forms and additional information about the application process. An abused and/or neglected child is waiting for YOUR help!
CASA Video: Former First Lady Laura Bush
Child abuse is an epidemic across this nation. Currently, fewer than half the children in foster care have a CASA volunteer to stand up for them. Former First Lady Laura Bush focuses on the need for more Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs).