Even though Susan Miller is retired, she knew she had more to give. Here's her story, in her own words:

After I decided on an early retirement, I quickly realized I had plenty more to do (and give) — time, energy, and a desire to help others. I searched for volunteer opportunities online and found VolunteerMatch. After completing my profile, I was matched with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Jackson County.

In case you aren’t familiar, CASA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to support and promote court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children. Their goal is to provide children with a safe and healthy environment in permanent homes ... Ultimately, CASAs work hard to advocate for the child’s placement and ongoing care in a safe home with recommended programs based on the child’s needs — like educational plans or medical care. CASAs also work with a Department of Human Services (DHS) caseworker to coordinate care and placement.

After my application was approved, I started on two cases.

At first, I was a little apprehensive. Would I ask the wrong questions? Are children going to relate to me? Would parents/ foster parents welcome my help? Although I had excellent training, I had never been placed in a situation (or role) this important. Honestly, I was pretty anxious. To my surprise, I quickly established rapport with my assigned children and families.

Many forget: these children have seen or experienced violence or neglect. I found that simply coordinating medical care or just spending time with them has the power to make a tremendous difference. I’ve had so much fun with these kids — riding bikes, going for walks, teaching them how to swim, or participating in epic water balloon fights — you name it.

I hope these memories will endure for them as they will for me. With all this fun, sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that I’m volunteering for a greater purpose.

Read the full article about Susan Miller's experience with CASA at VolunteerMatch.