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CASA Corner: How full is your bucket?

Wendy David
CASA advocate

One of the best parts of my job as a governing board member for Lake Tahoe Unified School District is hearing and learning from students about the significant projects they are instituting in their school. Last week I was introduced to a project at South Tahoe Middle School based on the children’s book, “How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids” written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. Tom Rath, with Dr. Donald Clifton, co-authored the adult counterpart years ago, “How Full is Your Bucket?” a No. 1 New York Times bestseller.

The introduction to the children’s version states, “Each of us has an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great, when it is empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don’t realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day.” The story evolves around Felix and his invisible bucket that drips out water each time he treats others badly or is treated badly by others. Conversely, his bucket fills with drops every time a kindness is directed his way. Felix’s mood changes drastically between how despondent he feels about himself and others when his bucket is dripping, as opposed to how he sees himself and his world when is bucket is full of drops.

There are 850 paper “buckets” now at STMS. Students, teachers, and all staff can put positive messages or “drops” of kindness in anyone’s bucket. Our middle school students, on their own, are finding ways to counteract the “drips” of bullying behavior while developing a culture of kindness.

As a CASA volunteer, I realized that much of what a CASA does is about helping of fill the bucket of a child. A child that has been removed from their family, “drip, drip,” their home, “drip, drip,” and often their friends and school, “drip, drip,” all made necessary because of the neglect of abuse by a family member, “drip, drip, drip,” has a very empty bucket when they enter the court system. A CASA volunteer can help to add the “drops” back into their bucket. Compliments, hugs, consistency, caring, advocating, spending one-on-one time, help to fill the leaking buckets of children that are hurting, scared and angry.

How full is your bucket? Is it leaking or are you filling your bucket each day by practicing kindness? The words we say, the actions we take, the attitude we project are each drops. These drops fill our own bucket, those of a child in need and those who don’t even know their bucket is empty. There are so many ways to fill our buckets. Become a CASA volunteer, a mentor, teacher, coach, friend or the most loving parent you can be. Your bucket will always be full.


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