Trusting, dedicated and compassionate are all words to describe the volunteers at CASA of the Coastal Bend.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and one CASA volunteer is making a positive difference in the lives of children during troubled times.
Ron Pinaire stepped up to be an advocate for young boys not knowing that he would receive so much more out of his experience with CASA.
"It is nothing like what I expected," Pinaire said, adding that the time you spend with the organization adds value to the community, and that is what motivates him past retirement.
"The court assigns you to a child, and you really are the eyes and the ears for the judge," Pinaire said.
Pinaire's dedication to one case made all the difference for a young man named James, who was taken away from his parents by Child Protective Services after tests showed he had heroin in his system at birth.
As a young child living with his grandparents, James was removed by CPS for the second time for physical neglect and emotional abuse. He was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed a cocktail of medications. He was emotionally closed off to the therapists who tried to talk to him about his experiences.
Pinaire, a father and former Boy Scout leader of 22 years, was able to develop a trusting relationship with James when no one else could and eventually helped James open up.
"Our reports with the court really carry a lot of weight because of the time we spend with the child," Pinaire said. "Makes me feel good. Makes me feel really good!"
James was adopted this summer and is almost off of all his mediation.
In 2016, only 351 of over 1,000 foster children in the Coastal Bend had an advocate assigned to them.
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