Doing Good: Volunteering at CASA of NWA a Family Affair

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) -- - CASA of Northwest Arkansas has given a voice to thousands of neglected and abused children over the last two decades. A local couple is doing their part to help by making service a part of their family dynamic.

"Come on big girl," CASA volunteer Nick Fritsche called out to his daughter as he and his family walked through the doors of CASA of Northwest Arkansas. 

Life for the Fritsche family can be a handful. Nick and Randi have three children ranging in age from one to nine years old. Even with a full and busy schedule, that includes jobs and parenting, they serve as court appointed special advocates -- or CASAs.

"We put aside time at night, when the kids are asleep or I have a couple of days off, and I make sure I get as much work as I can done," CASA volunteer Randi Fritsche shared while discussing how she and her husband Nick make their volunteer work fit into their busy lives. 

Nick and Randi Fritsche help give a voice to abused and neglected children in the courtroom to advise a judge about the children they advocate for. They manage their case load together.

"When you get into these kids lives you could be the only consistent person in their lives," Nick Fritsche explained. "And if you're not the only consistent person, you're the only consistent decent person in their lives."

The Fritsches say they feel like this is the most hands on way to make a difference in the community.

"It can be kind of tragic, but it's also really great to see what kind of an impact you can make on kids just by showing up to court, and to showing up and seeing these kids on a weekly or monthly basis," Nick Fritsche shared.

Beyond just showing up, Nick Fritsche meets another need.

"These boys in the foster care system need a good male role model and having a male CASA can change a lot for these children," CASA of NWA Executive Director Crystal Vickmark said.

Vickmark points out about half of all the kids they serve are boys, yet only 16 percent of advocates are men. Because Nick Fritsche shares cases with his wife, he is able to add an important male influence.

"You know that you're actually doing something about it," Randi Fritsche explained. "You're helping these children, helping them to break the cycle to get a new start at life and you feel you're actually making a difference. That's why I love CASA."

CASA of Northwest Arkansas will hold a brief informational session where you can learn how to make an impact on the life of abused and neglected children. It is called CASA 101 and is held on the third Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the CASA office (3825 Cawood Lane, Springdale, AR 72762). You do not have to RSVP, you can just show up. Click here to learn more.

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