March Staff Recommendations

From books to podcasts, our staff members share what has caught their eye and kept their attention! We recommend four pieces this month that skim the surface on important topics that impact the children and families in our community.

Book Pick: The Stolen Year: How COVID Changed Children’s Lives, and Where We Go Now by Anya Kamenetz

Recommended by CASA Supervisor Amy, this book explores how the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our governments response, has changed the lives of America’s school children. Author Anya Kamenetz notes how U.S. public schools were closed twice as long compared to those in other countries, and just how difficult it became for families to access welfare institutions. With personal narratives from several families across the country, readers grapple with the loss, change, and ultimately, resilience that the pandemic continues to give rise to.

Podcast Pick: Vigilant Voices by Henrico CASA on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more

On March 6th, our friends at Henrico CASA debuted their podcast Vigilant Voices to discuss topics relevant to child welfare, creating healthy and safe homes, thriving communities, and more. Hosted by Executive Director, Jeannine Panzera, and Community Engagement Coordinator, Kristin Blalock, each week Vigilant Voices aims to educate the community on the challenges facing modern children and their families, as they believe everyone can help lighten the load for families and prevent future child abuse and neglect. Listen to the first episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you find your podcasts to hear a CASA success story and the first of many calls to action to help someone in your community and make even the smallest difference.  We can’t wait to tune in for the next episode!

Article Pick: Alone and Exploited, Migrant Children Working Brutal Jobs Across the U.S. by New York Times

By interviewing over 100 migrant child workers across the country, The Times exposes the jobs and agencies that are pushing migrant children into impossible situations. A new and alarming shadow workforce of migrant children is emerging, and they work some of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Children as young as twelve years old are working night shifts at local manufacturing plants, trying to earn enough money to repay those who helped them cross the border. Readers learn that these children are not undetected by the U.S. Government and are forced to consider that America has turned a blind eye to the serious issue of child labor trafficking.  

Audio Book Pick: Finding Me by Viola Davis, narrated by Viola Davis

You’ve probably seen Emmy award-winning actress Viola Davis on your screen, but you may not know how she got herself there. This memoir is an intimate and inspiring recount of Viola Davis’ life, filled with both success and struggle as she found her purpose and left the labels that afflicted her behind. CASA volunteer Nancy Rooney recommended this audiobook to Darcy and they both agree the storytelling and narration by Viola Davis herself is done incredibly well. In the publisher’s summary, Davis exclaims “As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.”