For years, I carried around a greeting card. I don’t remember where it came from, but it was one of those cards that is blank inside and has a motivational quote on the front. This one was more of a story than a quote, and it went like this:

A man was walking along the beach during low tide. There were hundreds of fish washed ashore, stuck on the sand. He walked by another man who was picking up fish, one at a time, and throwing them back into the water. The first man asked the second, “Why? You can’t possibly save all of these fish on your own – the few you can won’t even make a difference.” The second man picked up another fish, threw it into the water, and very simply replied, “It made a difference to that one.”

IT MADE A DIFFERENCE TO THAT ONE. It was like I heard a chorus singing when I read that line.

I’ve always felt the drive to volunteer, to do something good to help others. But what can I do? It’s overwhelming sometimes, the need we see around us – in our community, in our society, in our world. I want to help, but I only have two hands, two feet and one (admittedly loud) mouth. What can I possibly do to make a difference?

And then I remember. IT MADE A DIFFERENCE TO THAT ONE.

In my former career, I spent a lot of time in courtrooms. I watched heart-wrenching cases of all types, day in and day out. Cases involving children were always the hardest. You might think that court staff would become jaded – immune to the things that we hear – but it’s not true.  Every case hits just as hard as the first, or at least it did for me.

I was working in the courtroom as CASA of Yellowstone County began its work, and I’ve seen how the program has evolved into a solid force of good in our community. It’s been truly inspiring to see the difference advocates make to children in foster care, and that encouraged me to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate myself and join the amazing people at CASA of Yellowstone County who are stepping forward and committing to making a difference, one by one. Every action we take as advocates matters to that child. And one by one by one, that adds up to a huge impact in our community, our society, and our world.

Child Holding Hand of Another Person

Marisa Clark was sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in 2019 and is currently training to become a volunteer Peer Coordinator.