24 Jan Cultivate Resilience
Each year our CASA Team chooses a theme for the year. I joined the Pulaski County Team at the beginning of 2020. Our theme was “Above and Beyond”. We had no idea what 2020 had in store for us. It was quite a year, but despite all the obstacles, we saw our Team go “Above and Beyond” over and over. Court Appointed Special Advocates shifted the way they worked and brought great creativity to their advocacy in a time of social distancing. Staff learned new skills and explored technological avenues we hadn’t considered prior to the pandemic. We all became pros at virtual everything.
As 2021 rolled around and we were still in the midst of the pandemic, we choose “Embrace the Journey” as our theme. We had no idea what the year would bring but we were ready to face the challenges and overcome them. By the end of 2021, we were feeling extremely experienced at navigating our virtual world. Many of us were now vaccinated and back to doing a lot of things in person. However, we feel the almost 2 years of living through a pandemic. We have experienced and seen horrible losses. We miss doing things in person. In many cases, the children we represent still can’t have in-person visits at their placements. We recognize the strain on so many, including the children we advocate for, their families, and our CASA Team.
In our work, we are cognizant of the trauma children and their families have experienced. We recognize that not everyone has the same resiliency, but there are things that can help to improve resiliency. As we choose our theme for 2022, we decided on “Cultivate Resilience”. We know that this is not only vital for the children and families we work with but for our Court Appointed Special Advocates, our Staff, our Board of Directors, foster parents, DCFS staff, and other professionals we deal with.
Cultivate is defined as “try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill) and resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”. As we work through the year, we will focus on this in our work for ourselves, our Team, the professionals we work with, the families, and most importantly the children.
Some of the practical things you can do to build resilience include taking care of yourself, embracing change, working toward goals, and helping others.
We hear a lot these days about self-care. Taking care of ourselves is one of the major ways to cultivate resilience. Our physical and mental health is imperative. Eating healthy, exercising, and experiences that alleviate stress are all great examples of self-care.
Embracing change can be difficult for many of us. We like things a certain way and it can be difficult to accept some changes. If the last 2 years have taught us anything, it is that we are not in control. It’s important to accept the things we cannot change and focus on the things we do have control over.
Working toward goals is a great resilience builder. It is empowering to achieve something we have worked toward. A goal is much different from a wish or desire though. A goal is broken down into achievable steps and requires work to obtain. Reaching a goal can be empowering for us all, especially for a child to see what they can accomplish with planning and effort.
Helping others is a skill that Court Appointed Special Advocates are familiar with. We are all capable of this despite our circumstances. Helping others can provide a sense of purpose to our lives. You may have extra time on your hands and choose to volunteer or you may offer moral support to someone in your circle of influence. A child can choose to play with the children sitting alone at recess or read to a sibling. There are a multitude of ways we can each help each other and in doing so, we usually end up helping ourselves too.
We invite you to join us and Cultivate Resilience this year.