A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, specially trained and supervised, is appointed by a Judge to speak up for a child in foster care. CASA volunteers help to secure safe and permanent homes for abused and neglected children by investigating and monitoring cases involving children in foster care.
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2012 Louisiana CASA “Awards of Excellence”
Louisiana CASA, in partnership with its member programs, once again honored outstanding individuals for their service to children through CASA. Although we value all of the outstanding volunteers, staff, and stakeholders we work with, CASA wanted to present special recognition for those individuals who have gone that extra mile for children.
Judge of the Year: The Honorable Shonda Stone
NOMINATED BY VOLUNTEERS FOR YOUTH JUSTICE CASA
Judge Stone possesses a unique ability to empathize with people who appear before her in court. Her no-nonsense approach to her cases is one that is appreciated by not only the children she serves but their families. She utilizes the CASA program to ensure that not only are children protected, but provides a strong voice of encouragement and support for all parties that are involved to improve familial situations. She values the CASA volunteer’s opinion and rarely makes a ruling without listening to their input. She has attended CASA trainings and individually met with several volunteers to explain the role of CASA’s advocacy in the court room. She never forgets to remind the court that the children we serve are our responsibility.
Media Professional of the Year: Lee Williams
NOMINATED BY YOUTH SERVICE BUREAU
Youth Service Bureau has found a very consistent, dependable and creative partner in Lee Williams, of Charter Media. He creates a quality product, always exceeding expectations. Recently, he was asked to produce a new television PSA for YSB. He went above and beyond, adding his choice of music, voices and graphics. He was able to bring his professional expertise to the project and produced an exciting PSA about a very difficult subject. The PSA was aired at theatres in YSB’s service region during this summers’ run of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
DCFS Staff Member of the Year: Kellie Bishop
Kellie Bishop is the type of foster care case manager who resolves that she will make a lasting impact on the family. She motivates fathers to step up to the plate, recognizing the importance of fathers in the lives of their children, and goes above and beyond to locate them. She is proactive in identifying resources for children and families, working to develop case plans that will offer long-term benefits to the children and parents. Additionally, she embraces the advocacy of CASA. She freely shares information with advocates to ensure the working relationship continues to grow. She is an asset to DCFS, CASA, and to the community for the exemplary work she does and the giving person she is.
Diversity Leadership Award: CASA Jefferson
Program Board Member of the Year: Alexis Ducorbier
Alexis Ducorbier is a local State Farm Insurance Agent who sacrifices her time in numerous capacities for children and families. As a CASA board member, she has been the primary influence and leader for CAS’ Cottages for CASA Project. She steered the first committee and has remained chair going into the fourth year. Her inspiration has helped to raise over $112,000.00. She is sincere, caring, responsive to the community’s needs, and most importantly genuine to all she meets. She unselfishly dedicates her personal time to preserving the needs of children and families who have become victims of abuse and neglect.
Program Staff Member of the Year: Sharon Norwood
Since joining Capital Area CASA in 2008, Sharon Norwood has made an impact on the CASA volunteers she supervises, and the children they serve. CASA Volunteer Keshala Jackson noted “Sharon has a special way of empowering and encouraging me to do what needs to be done on my case instead of taking the lead.” Additionally, she oversaw the Aging Out committee, a group of CASA volunteers who were charged with creating the vision for a manual for youth in care as they age out of the system. Prior to beginning the committee, she invited older foster youth to share what they wish they’d known and took their suggestions and ran with them. The project was completed in the fall of 2011 and is now known as Paving the Way to the Future. Nearly 20 volunteers have received a copy of the manual.
Director of the Year: Cynthia Chauvin
Cynthia Chauvin joined CASA Jefferson as an Advocate Supervisor in 2002. From the beginning Cynthia demonstrated a passion for CASA’s mission and participated in child abuse awareness events even before her hiring and has remained a constant energetic and devoted employee to the CASA Jefferson program. Through her leadership, she empowers staff members by providing them with tools to better support advocates. In addition, she encourages staff to participate in ongoing community collaborative committees to educate about CASA Jefferson. She has a heart for CASA Jefferson; her passion for youth and CASA’s mission encourages her to work towards outstanding child advocacy.
Child Advocate of the Year: Terry Strohm
Terry Strohm has been a CASA Volunteer for 5 years and has advocated for 12 children in that time. She brings her love of children to her role as a CASA Volunteer, and continues as she has always done to make a difference in the lives of children in her community. On just one case, she put in 350 hours and drove 4,200 miles to help a family with three children, one of whom was placed in a mental health facility. She coordinated with the child’s school so he could have books while he was institutionalized, advocated for sibling visitation, and simple things like haircuts and dental care. She even met the child at the dentist’s office, because he asked her to be there with him. In addition to being a CASA volunteer, she is active in recruiting volunteers from her church, family and friends, spreading awareness about CASA everywhere in her community.