When we know better, we do better. So after Henrico CASA volunteers participate in pre-service training, they grow knowledge and skills through ongoing continuing education opportunities. This month, we watched the Resilience documentary together. The film explains the biology of stress and the science of hope. It’s message is highly relevant to our work as CASAs, but also to the work of foster parents.

Toxic stress, often experienced by children who have experienced abuse and neglect, is above and beyond what we would consider “normal” stress. Unrelenting fear and anxiety bears a weight. It leads to a chronic stress that takes a toll on a child’s body and mind. What really differentiates toxic stress form “normal” stress is the lack of protective relationships to mitigate the burden.

The remedy for toxic stress is resilience. This antidote looks different for each person because resilience is a skill that is learned at difference paces. It is a skill that doesn’t have the opportunity to emerge and grow until we are faced with adversity.

Resilience is built over time… and studies show the key to building resilience is at least one positive, caring adult. This adult is the buffer, the layer of protection that cushions the blows of life. This one stable adult may be a CASA, a foster parent, a teacher, or YOU. We each have the ability to make a difference in a child’s road to healing and recovery. Be that difference.

For more information on becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate, visit our website.