Faces in the Crowd: Michaela Kallis
Michaela Kallis has worked with children most of her life and was looking for a way to give back. She found that opportunity with C.A.S.A. Northern Hills.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — When a child enters the child welfare system because his or her home is no longer safe due to abuse or neglect, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to advocate for the best interest of the child in court and other settings. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate or C.A.S.A.
For volunteers with C.A.S.A. — their donated time comes from the heart.
The work they are doing is protecting the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in court proceedings through advocacy efforts.
C.A.S.A. volunteers come from all walks of life with one thing in common, they care about children. Michaela Kallis has worked with children most of her life and was looking for a way to give back. She saw C.A.S.A. as the best way to use her time and talents. She’s been with the organization for over a year and a half…and as her first case is wrapping up, she’s hopeful for the children involved.
Michaela Kallis, Northern Hills C.A.S.A advocate, says, “It’s ending with a positive outcome. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve had a small part in what is going to be for those kids and they’re actually going to be placed in a great home. They are thriving and doing very well right now, so it’s a really happy ending for them. It’s very rewarding to know that you are a part of that.”
As a C.A.S.A., Michaela is the voice for a child in court — gathering information and meeting with the children every month along with other people in their lives like parents and teachers. She spends about 15 hours a month on what is best for the child and forming a meaningful connection with the children she’s advocating for.
“That they look up to you and they kind of form a bond with you just like you know they’re just looking for love and acceptance and I just want somebody there that’s going to listen and put their best interest at heart and so I think when you put your time in and energy into them you know they love you back so it’s a dual relationship for sure,” says Michaela.
Michaela would recommend volunteering with C.A.S.A to anyone who is looking to make a difference and says, “I’d say if you have a heart for kids and you have the time to invest, you should just jump in and go for it. I think it’s one of those decisions, anytime you choose to invest in the life of a child, it’s just never time wasted. There’s so many kids out there who need an adult that is willing to step up and be a voice for them when they can’t be a voice for themselves. And so this is just one way that you can give a little bit of your time and talent to do that.”