Steuben County produces two volunteers

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Recently, two women from Steuben County were sworn into their roles as CASA volunteers after completing Fall training with Northeastern Indiana CASA. Mary Leite (pictured left) and Sabrina Fritz (pictured right) took their oaths with Steuben Circuit Court Judge Allen Wheat. 

In addition to Steuben County, Northeastern Indiana CASA serves Whitley, Noble, Lagrange and Dekalb counties. 

CASA PROVIDES A VOICE FOR POWERLESS CHILDREN INVOLVED IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS; ADVOCATES FOR THEIR BEST INTERESTS; AND STRIVES TO IMPROVE THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES AND QUALITY OF LIFE.

Padgett is sworn into volunteer service

Recently, Mike Padgett was sworn in by local judges so that he could begin his volunteer position with Northeastern Indiana CASA. Padgett is from Wolcottville, and will be serving children in Noble County and possibly Lagrange. Swearing him in was Noble County Judges Steve Hagen, Michael Kramer, and Robert Kirsch.

Padgett recently completed Fall training and joined group of like-minded volunteers who are aimed at speaking up for children who are involved in judicial proceedings. Northeastern Indiana CASA advocates for children's best interests and works to improve their circumstances and quality of life. The nonprofit serves DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, and Whitley counties.  Northeastern Indiana CASA is proudly supported by United Way of DeKalb, Noble, Steuben, Whitley, and LaGrange United Fund.

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Spreading Good Words: CASA banquet celebrates volunteers

Awards were given to (from left to right) Lee Marki and Rick Owens for five years of service, Cheryl Weaver and Barb Bauer for 10 years of service, and Elizabeth Gilbert for 15 years of service. In addition, board members Troy Weimer and Scott Newman (not pictured) were recognized for five years of service. 

Awards were given to (from left to right) Lee Marki and Rick Owens for five years of service, Cheryl Weaver and Barb Bauer for 10 years of service, and Elizabeth Gilbert for 15 years of service. In addition, board members Troy Weimer and Scott Newman (not pictured) were recognized for five years of service. 

KENDALLVILLE - Although it's an annual celebration, the Northeastern Indiana CASA Volunteer banquet is anything but mundane. Each year a group of volunteers, board members, staff and area judges gather to applaud the efforts of like-minded community members all focused on advocating for children in the area. 

"We celebrate the many accomplishments you, our dedicated volunteers, have achieved through the last year. We honor you for all you do," said Executive Director Kristi Bachman at the event held recently at the Cobblestone Event Center in Kendallville.

In 2016, 450 children were served by volunteers. So far this year 420 children have been served. Northeastern Indiana CASA provides a voice for children involved in judicial proceedings while advocating for their best interests and striving to improve their circumstances and quality of life.

"I have found that CASAs are the eyes and ears of the court outside of the courtroom," said Whitley County Judge Matthew Rentschler. "CASA makes the court more confident about important decisions."

The night's theme was emotional. From the gratitude for the volunteer efforts on display to the pride of those who have dedicated numerous years in service, the event was focused on bolstering the hearts of those involved. Ted Westerhof, student and employee assistance coordinator for Bowen Center, was the featured speaker who delivered a practical approach to compassion fatigue.

"It is easy to find yourself tapped out," Westerhof said. "You give a lot and care a lot. Your heart is invested. I want to challenge you to identify why you do what you do and keep that in your mind's eye."

As part of the celebration, awards were handed out to volunteers who had reached a milestone in their service. Awards were given to Lee Marki and Rick Owens for five years of service, Cheryl Weaver and Barb Bauer for 10 years of service, and Elizabeth Gilbert for 15 years of service. In addition, board members Troy Weimer and Scott Newman were recognized for five years of service. 

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Colorful bracelets decorated the tables but also became a parting gift full of encouraging words. "The bracelets scattered on the table are for you, and the kids you serve. Take them all and give them to anyone you think needs a positive word or two," Bachman said. 

"I thank you all for your part in making Northeast Indiana a better place for our children, " Bachman said in closing. "I hope you leave here tonight feeling proud of being part of this larger movement."

To learn more about joining Northeastern Indiana CASA as a volunteer, visit www.neincasa.net

A Second Go-Round: Stanton returns to volunteer

Linda Stanton has recently returned as a CASA volunteer after having previously served the nonprofit for 10 years.

Linda Stanton has recently returned as a CASA volunteer after having previously served the nonprofit for 10 years.

Ten years wasn’t enough for Northeastern Indiana CASA volunteer Linda Stanton. After a decade spent working with the nonprofit, Linda recently returned to offer more of her heart and time to children who need adult advocates while navigating the court system.

“I have always had a heart for CASA and the positive impact it has on our communities,” said Linda.” I was a CASA for 10 years before I decided to step away.  But even then, CASA remained in my heart and I continued my support in other ways. I found myself once again speaking up for CASA and the experience laid heavily on my heart. So here I am, putting on my ‘CASA shoes’ once again.”

While working as a secretary at an area middle school, Linda began to realize that there were children who needed a positive adult in their lives. “I saw the challenges many children had every day,” she said. “There were some who could use a voice to speak up for them. I could see it on their faces.”

At the time, Linda had not heard of CASA and wasn’t entirely sure what the organization did. Once she was educated on the many ways the nonprofit impact the lives of children, it still took Linda two years to decide to begin volunteering.

“I was working and I didn’t think I had the time,”  Linda said. “But it just kept coming up. I had an interest and I wanted to see what it was all about. To me, CASA is not only being the voice of the child, but it is being a community member.  It is building community relationships, serving our communities, and being a positive influence on a child’s life. It’s having a desired positive impact on family life.”

With more than a decade of perspective to match her passion for the work Northeastern Indiana CASA does, Linda returns as a volunteer. She has seen some “exciting” changes and growth in the communities served. With the integration of more technology and improved, “sophisticated” training, volunteers are well equipped to handle their responsibilities.

“The whole organization is working better and CASA is a little more accepted as a resource within the community and the court system,” said Linda. “All sides of the equation see its importance and that keeps the conversation going and minds open to what CASA can provide.”

CASA offers a voice for powerless children involved in judicial proceedings, but also advocates for the child’s best interests while striving to improve their circumstances and quality of life. Linda said she also sees CASA as a chance to “heal families.”

“People don’t realize the issues kids face,” Linda said. “Some of these kids have parents who are in jail or who are fighting drug use. It weighs heavily on their little hearts, but knowing someone is there to care for them and watch out for them means a lot. In the end, we hope that the family can be reunited in a healthier, happier way.”

Volunteers are always needed as the number of children served by a CASA volunteer grows. More than 400 children have been served so far this year, and more children are waiting for a CASA.

“If you have time to go shopping, you can find time to sit with a child,” said Linda. “Join with a friend. Join with your spouse. The important thing is, just join. You simply have to have the heart and interest. If you want to share in the mission, you should ask for more information and learn how you can become involved. You don’t realize how important you really are to the well-being of a child. You can make a difference, and it’s rewarding to know what you do matters.”

To learn more about Northeastern Indiana CASA, visit www.neincasa.net

Toymakers give a gift full of fun

Recently, two men from "The Toymakers of Greencroft Middlebury" presented Northeastern Indiana CASA's Executive Director Kristi Bachman, pictured center, with handmade wooden toys.

This group of wood crafters proves that CASA supporters come in all ages, from all areas and with all kinds of talents and good things to share with the children we serve.

"These will go to our CASA kids," said Bachman. "Thanks so much to the Toymakers of Greencroft Middlebury for helping us help children 'one smile at a time!'"

Learn how you can get involved, with a gift or monetary donation or as a volunteer CASA, at www.neincasa.net


 

Northeastern Indiana CASA welcomes new advocate

Tammy Miller, pictured center, was recently sworn in as a new advocate for children, working with Northeastern Indiana CASA. 

CASA PROVIDES A VOICE FOR POWERLESS CHILDREN INVOLVED IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS; ADVOCATES FOR THEIR BEST INTERESTS; AND STRIVES TO IMPROVE THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES AND QUALITY OF LIFE.

We serve in DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, and Whitley counties. 

To learn more about what CASA does and the impact our volunteers make, check out this quick video where some of our advocates share their story!

Volunteer Spotlight: Hezekiah Davis

"The opportunity to help someone else in need is a rewarding feeling."

Hezekiah Davis is one of Northeastern Indiana CASA's newest volunteers, having been sworn into service in April. He currently serves Steuben County and several others. 

"I grew up in the court system and was united with a loving family in my early childhood, " says Davis. "I wanted to give back by helping another child. After reviewing different ways to give back, becoming a CASA was the right fit for me."

Although Davis has had limited experience serving as a CASA, he says he was most "impressed" with the training offered to volunteers. 

"The training helped me understand the need for such programs in our communities. It helped open my eyes to the resources that are available," said Davis. "I was especially surprised to learn the lengths CASA and its volunteers go in order to ensure children's needs are heard by the judges."

There are several hundred children served each year through Northeastern Indiana CASA, and there are more who are waiting for CASAs to become available. More volunteers are needed in order to handle the demand. Although the task may seem daunting, Davis found the opportunity motivating.

"Volunteers should be prepared to be awakened by just how great the need is and how rewarding the opportunity can be. If you're thinking about volunteering, the time is now," urges Davis. "Most of us have been helped either by a loved one, friend or a program similar to CASA. The opportunity to help someone else in need is a rewarding feeling."

Apply online to become a CASA volunteer > Click here!

CASA Palooza 2017 is on its way!

Restaurants, caterers and drink vendors across a five-county area will join together for a cause that serves children in Northeastern Indiana.

CASA Palooza is an annual event the raises funds and awareness for Northeastern Indiana CASA, a nonprofit organization aimed at advocating for children who find themselves in judicial proceedings. 

"Our staff and volunteers work to provide a voice for these powerless children," said Executive Director Kristi Bachman. "We strive to advocate for their best interests and improve their circumstances and quality of life."

Last year, CASA Palooza raised more than $56,000 for the organization, and this year the event looks to surpass that previous benchmark. With area business and organizations acting as sponsors, the event will allow ticket holders to sip and savor a variety of cuisine from DeKalb, Lagrange, Noble, Whitley and Steuben counties. 

CASA Palooza will be held Friday, April 21st at Sylvan Cellars Event Center in Rome City. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. and more information, as well as online tickets, can be found at www.neincasa.net or by calling 260-636-6101.

Volunteer Spotlight: Cathy Aldrich

"We help children not get lost in the 'system'."  -- Cathy Aldrich, volunteer

Cathy Aldrich is a five-year volunteer for Northeastern Indiana CASA, serving Steuben and Lagrange counties.

Cathy Aldrich is a five-year volunteer for Northeastern Indiana CASA, serving Steuben and Lagrange counties.

Cathy Aldrich has served as volunteer for Northeastern Indiana CASA for five years. She is currently working with children in Steuben and Lagrange counties and is passionate about giving children the attention and support they need.

"As a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) I keep children from getting lost in the 'system," Cathy said. "We work to help children have permanency as quickly as possible. We also let them know that someone else cares about them."

Volunteers spend time in court at hearing and appearances to insure that all relevant facts are presented and they work to be an advocate for the child's best interest. This means spending time with the child to gather information and monitor the situation as long as the child is under court jurisdiction.

"Being a CASA volunteer is hard work and a lot of responsibility, but it is so rewarding," said Cathy. "To know that I have the ability to improve a child's life is some way is amazing."

Cathy says her volunteer work is fulfilling because she can witness the direct impact her time spent has on a child's case and their futures.

"Whether it's big or small, I like seeing a child benefit from the work I have done."

Throughout the year, CASAs are trained and equipped through a support team that consists of staff, board members and other interested persons. This means that volunteers like Cathy don't have to wander through their volunteer work without direction. A tightly-knit group of leaders and caring community members make up the backbone of Northeastern Indiana CASA.

"Children are the most valuable people in our society," said Cathy. "Often times left on their own, they don't have a voice or control over what happens to them. We help give them a voice and make them feel important."

To learn more about volunteering or becoming a CASA, click here! 

 

10 years well spent: This volunteer has changed lives!

Phillips set to retire after a decade of service

Margo Phillips is set to retire her seat on the board of directors for Northeastern Indiana CASA after more than 10 years of service.

Margo Phillips is set to retire her seat on the board of directors for Northeastern Indiana CASA after more than 10 years of service.

ALBION – “I get so much more than I ever could give back,” said Margo Phillips a Northeastern Indiana CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) board member. After more than 10 years of service, Phillips is set to retire her board seat and is moving from the Lagrange area where she currently resides.

“I am involved in several things around the area, but it is really tough to leave CASA,” Phillips said. “If we weren’t moving out of the area I don’t know if I’d ever give it up.”

Phillips joined the board of directors at a time of change and transition for the non-profit. Northeastern Indiana CASA provides a voice for children who are involved in judicial proceedings, advocates for the child’s best interests, and works to improve their circumstances and quality of life. The organization serves Noble, Lagrange Dekalb, Steuben and Whitley counties, but 10 years ago, this cause was overseen by the area judges.

“I remember going to a meeting where the judges were going to hand this off to the community members. I didn’t know much about what it was about, so I Googled it,” said Phillips. “I was really touched when I heard CASA was about giving children a voice. I didn’t always have a voice when I was a kid. I liked the idea of kids having rights, having someone be there for them and having a chance at life.”

Having volunteered in other areas of the community, Phillips saw first-hand the need for community members to come along side children who were not always in a positive home environment.

“We automatically assume that these parents struggle with addiction or that they are poor, but these kids come from all sorts of backgrounds,” Phillips explained. “Whether it’s financial strain, addiction or volatile relationships, these children need a home that is stable and that can offer caring support and a nurturing environment.”

In her decade of service, Phillips has witnessed many “success stories” that touts the positive impact of Northeaster Indiana CASA. From corporate leaders to influential community members, Phillips has seen adults who built a life and give credit to their CASA volunteer for their success.  

“These adults only have a chance because of their CASA,” Phillips said. “Yes, they may have been moved to a foster home or even a boy’s school, but their CASA was there every step of the way. Our greatest resource is our kids. If someone will say ‘I will be here for you,’ it means the world. Many times, these kids have nothing else otherwise. They need someone to be there, to support them and to care. Our CASAs are people who have a direct impact on the destiny of a child.”

Phillips not only enjoys the work Northeastern Indiana CASA does with children, she has also “cherished” the time she has spent with other volunteers, board members and staff. She has developed a respect for the organization’s executive director Kristi Bachman.

“Kristi is filled with energy and love for these kids,” Phillips said. “She shares each pain and each joy these kids experience. She cries with them and celebrates with them. She has so much of herself invested in this cause.”

During her time as a board member, Phillips received several awards and recognition for her service and dedication to the non-profit. However, she is quick to share the honors with her fellow board members and volunteers.

“Our volunteers amaze me. They are so dedicated and committed,” said Phillips. “It’s great that we make such a difference and that we have such amazing support, but it stinks that we have to do this kind of work. Maybe someday things will change, but for now CASA is making a real difference.”

Given that Northeaster Indiana CASA serves somewhat rural counties peppered with small towns and communities, it might seem as if the need for CASA’s mission is not necessary. However, Phillips knows that the need is great and more volunteers are needed.

“This isn’t just something that happens on television or that happens in bigger cities,” she said. “I’ve heard these kids. I’ve seen their faces and I’ve heard their stories. This wasn’t something that happen off in some other place. I’ve sat 10 feet from them and heard it first-hand.”

Phillips said CASA volunteers want to see parents get the right tools and support to be the best for their children. It is “great” when a volunteer can help keep a family intact.

“I could have been a CASA kid,” Phillips said. “I say ‘but by the grace of God, there I go.’ Who will step up? We can make a difference and pay it forward. That’s what I wanted to do and that’s what I feel like I’ve done. There’s no change in just wishing things were different or by turning a blind eye to the need. Change comes when we come together to help each other and to break the cycle so our kids’ futures are better and brighter.”

To learn more about Northeastern Indiana CASA or to volunteer, visit www.neincasa.net.

 

NE Indiana CASA celebrates volunteers, 30 years of advocating

Several CASAs were honored for their years of service. Pictured, from left, are Pam Feller (10 years), Sonya Emerick (15 years), Stu Shipman (5 years), Cathy Aldrich (5 years), Bonnie Shipman (5 years), Lisa Laur (10 years) and Margo Phillips (10 years).

Several CASAs were honored for their years of service. Pictured, from left, are Pam Feller (10 years), Sonya Emerick (15 years), Stu Shipman (5 years), Cathy Aldrich (5 years), Bonnie Shipman (5 years), Lisa Laur (10 years) and Margo Phillips (10 years).

KENDALLVILLE – Volunteers were recently celebrated at an annual dinner held by Northeastern Indiana Dekalb, Steuben and Lagrange counties.

“Tonight we want to celebrate our successes, big and small,” said Executive Director Kristi Bachman. “We want to life one another up and help each other realize how important you all are.”

The annual dinner, held at Cobblestone Golf Course, highlighted several volunteers who had given years of service to the nonprofit.  Recognition was paid to Stu and Bonnie Shipman as well as Cathy Aldrich for five years of volunteer service; Pam Feller, Margo Phillips and Lisa Laur for 10 years of service; and Sonya Emerick for 15 years of service.

“All of our volunteers are so special and mean so much,” said Bachman. “We even have some past volunteers here with us tonight that are very cherished and special. Thank you to all of you for the part you’ve played in our 30-year history. I’m so proud of you all. You have made a real difference.”

Whitley County Circuit Court Judge James Heuer was the night’s speaker to which he shared his more than 25 years of experience working with CASA.

“We need you all and trust you,” said Heuer. “We rely on your insight and it is good to have you in the courtroom. Keep up the good work and all you do to help children in our area.”

According to Bachman’s report at the dinner, volunteers have already helped more than 460 children this year.

“I know this job you do is tough, it’s frustrating, it’s emotional and at times it’s heartbreaking. But as I’ve been so blessed to witness, it is also rewarding,” said Bachman. “Thank you to everyone for your part in making Northeast Indiana a better place for our children. I hope you feel a little lifted up, appreciated a lot and proud of what you do. Everyone in this room has had a part in making a better life for kids. You are a light in a world of darkness.”

See more photos of this even by clicking here!

Open houses scheduled in your area!

NORTHEASTERN INDIANA COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE PROGRAM TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE FOR POTENTIAL VOLUNTEERS

Northeastern Indiana CASA is looking for caring, compassionate people to take a child under their wings.  CASA is appointed by Judges to represent the best interests of abused, neglected, and at risk children in Court.  
Northeastern Indiana CASA will be holding OPEN HOUSES in your area on the following dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, August 9 at Cahoots Coffee Café  from 5-7 p.m. at 218 W Maumee, Angola
  • Wednesday, August 10 from 5-7 p.m. at Joanna’s Dealious Treats  at 201 S. Main St., Kendallville
  • Wednesday, August 17 from 5-7 p.m. at Carney Decorating Center House (formerly the Bed & Breakfast - next to the Decorating Center) located at 215 N. Detroit, LaGrange                        

Area CASA representatives will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about the responsibilities and rewards of being an advocate.  Enjoy some refreshments while you complete an application to volunteer!

For more information, please contact us at 260-636-6101 or visit our website at www.neincasa.net.  The next training is scheduled to begin October 17.
Northeastern Indiana CASA is funded in part by United Way and United Fund.

 

A generous gift becomes so much more than just dollars

Recently, Northeastern Indiana CASA received a donation to help further the mission to advocate for children and be a voice for kids. However, for Kristi Bachman, NEIN CASA's Executive Director, the donation was more than just dollars. 

"It’s easy to get discouraged in this job I do," said Kristi. "When I hear the horrific stories of abuse 'our' kids have suffered, and when I look at our list of kids waiting for an advocate – which never goes away - I feel the weight daily.  But there are many times in this job I am  moved by the goodness of humanity.  Last night was one of those nights."

A gentleman contacted NEIN CASA's office to invite Kristi to a special charity dinner to receive some recognition and a donation on behalf of NEIN CASA. 
 
"I had never spoken to this gentleman," Kristi said. "However, what we received was $500 from the Auburn Moose Family Center!  What a reminder that there are many wonderful people in this world -- Not only our dedicated advocates, but the many, many people who provide funds to keep our program going.  Thank you all for helping the children!!"

This donation did more than offer $500 to our nonprofit, but it offered support as if those who had given were cheering on the work being done by NE IN volunteers and staff. Thank you to Auburn Moose Family Center and for the other wonderful donors, supports and "cheerleaders" who support us in our work!

Superhero Spotlight: Jackie Boyle

 

***The following is series featuring Q & A's with CASA volunteers

 

Jackie Boyle is a volunteer and advocate for children through Northeastern Indiana CASA, serving Noble County.

Jackie Boyle is a volunteer and advocate for children through Northeastern Indiana CASA, serving Noble County.

Jackie Boyle has been a volunteer for Northeastern Indiana CASA for little over a year now. She serves Noble County and says the most rewarding part of being a CASA is "developing a positive relationship with a child who otherwise might have no other adult in his life he can trust. The CASA volunteer also gives the child a much-needed voice in court."

Q: What almost held you back from being a volunteer?

A: "I looked for a full year for a volunteer position after I retired from teaching, but I passed over CASA repeatedly because I thought it involved too much responsibility. While I recognized the importance of the organization and I saw the need for more volunteers, I didn't feel qualified for such an important task."

Q: What made you go ahead and do it anyway?

A: "After a year of not finding a volunteer position that I could really connect with, I decided to look more closely into CASA. After investigating for only a short time, I felt that this is where I needed to spend my time. I felt that I could use my skills working with kids doing something extremely important, and I made the decision to apply. When I went through the interview and heard about the training, I was sure that I had made the right decision, and I have not regretted doing so."

Q: What would you tell someone considering being a volunteer?

A: "I would tell people to look into the organization and to not be afraid of the responsibility. The training and guidance from the staff are excellent, and the kids in our community need CASA."

Q: If you could have any superpower what would it be? 

A: "I would eliminate drug addiction from the face of the Earth."

Q: If you could go back and be a kid for a day, what would you do?

A: "If I could be a kid for a day, I would go back to my childhood home in Fort Wayne. I was an incurable tomboy, so I was always outside doing something. My favorite spot was a shallow creek a block away, where we would play as kids. We would climb trees, cross the creek, get soaking wet, and make up wild adventures. We would spend all day there. It was great."

Q: What is a lesson adults could learn from children?

A: "Kids love their parents. Parents need to learn to put that love at the TOP of their list of priorities."

 

Become a voice for children in your area! Volunteers are needed!

Get volunteer information by clicking here!

Superhero Spotlight: Stu & Bonnie Shipman

***The following is series featuring Q & A's with CASA volunteers

Stu and Bonnie Shipman, from Whitley County, have been volunteering with CASA for more than three years. 

Stu and Bonnie Shipman, from Whitley County, have been volunteering with CASA for more than three years. 

Stu and Bonnie Shipman, from Whitley County, have been volunteering for more than 3 years. Together this couple finds their efforts rewarding because they are able to "connect with kids and ensure their lives are just a little bit better because of our presence."

Q: What almost held you back from being a volunteer?

A: "Stu was very reluctant to become a volunteer because he had never worked directly with troubled families.  I had been a teacher for 30 years and had always tried to help the children most in need, so it was a no-brainer for me."

Q: What made you go ahead and do it anyway?

A: "Stu became a volunteer because he was coerced, but has come to really appreciate and understand the role of CASA."

Q: What would you tell someone considering being a volunteer?

A: "Be fearless and do it!  If you never step out of your comfort zone in this life, you will never grow as a human being."

Q: If you could have any superpower what would it be? 

A: "To make parents 'parent' their children."

Q: If you could go back and be a kid for a day, what would you do?

A: "Eat ice cream for breakfast and then go to a day-long carnival."

Q: What is the best part of being a kid that you miss now that you are an adult? 

A: "Having an unfiltered mouth."

Q: What is a lesson adults could learn from children?

A: "Laugh more, cry more, and eat more pizza!"

 

You can make a difference!

You can be a voice for children who are powerless to speak for themselves.

Learn more about volunteering by clicking here!

Say What?!?!?! : A Parent's Goal Is Not to Raise Good Kids

courtesy of Dave Ramsey

We know our goal is not to keep our kids happy, turn them into little soldiers, or fulfill our unmet dreams. But if the goal is not to raise good kids, then what on earthis it?

Andy Andrews puts it this way: “The goal is not to raise great kids. It’s to raise kids who become great adults.”

It’s a subtle but powerful distinction. Kids can behave well out of obedience or fear, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do what’s best when they venture out on their own.Raising kids who become great adults requires instilling character traits that will inform future decisions and actions.

One of the best ways you can make sure your kids are ready to face adulthood one day is to teach them how to handle money now. That’s because money isn’t justabout money.

In Dave and Rachel’s new class, Smart Money Smart Kids, we learn that teaching kids to handle money really teaches them so much more.

When you teach a kid to work, you teach her responsibility.

That’s because work—whether it is chores around the house or a job at the mall—involves follow-through, best efforts and accountability. Work shows your daughter that she alone is in control of her actions, and that she will reap the consequences or rewards of her labor. Great adults are responsible.

When you teach a kid to spend, you teach him to use wisdom.

Spending money is fun. Kids totally get this. When you get involved, he learns that, yes, spending money is fun, but it’s also something that should be done with care. Smart spending requires good judgment—a vital life skill. Great adults use wisdom.

When you teach a kid to save, you teach her patience.

Our kids are growing up in a world of instant gratification. Saving money makes kids slow way down. This might hurt a little, but that’s okay. Saving money will show your daughter that she can’t necessarily have everything she wants right when she wants it. Great adults practice patience.

When you teach a kid to give, you teach him generosity.

Generosity is defined as the willingness to give, but that doesn’t come natural to many kids. As a parent, encourage the act of giving and watch your son’s heart change over time as he takes action.Generosity is a necessary weapon to fight against selfishness and greed. Great adults are generous.

When you teach a kid to avoid debt, you teach her honesty.

Debt allows people to live a lie. With debt, you can buy a bigger house, drive a nicer car, and eat fancier dinners. If your daughter wants to avoid debt for life, she’ll have to be honest with herself and everyone around her about what she can actually afford and, more importantly, who she really is. Great adults are honest.

When you teach a kid to be content, you teach him gratitude.

Contentment comes from the recognition that God owns it all. He created everything we have and all that we are. He cares about it all too. When kids grasp this concept, they can be okay with who God made them to be and what God’s given them to manage. Everything else is just a bonus. If your son learns to be content, he will be constantly grateful. Great adults practice gratitude.

Imagine your life twenty years from now. Your kids are grown and gone. What do you hope for their futures? Keep those dreams in mind as you start working on tomorrow today.