Awards of Excellence 2018 – 2019
CASA Media Professional of the Year
CASA of West CenLA
Penny Scogin, of KJAE 93.5 FM, has supported CASA of West CenLA for more than 10 years, consistently bringing awareness to child abuse and neglect and the invaluable role of CASA within her community. Her regular Public Service Announcements, and open invitation for weekly live interviews on a popular radio show, have allowed CASA of West CenLA to reach prospective volunteers and advocates as well as promote the importance of CASA in Beauregard and Vernon parishes.
Board Member of the Year
CASA of West CenLA
Stacey Schlittenhard, Board President for CASA of West CenLA, has shown drive and vision that has had ripple effects within the board and in the broader community. She spearheaded the “Downtown Chowdown” event that brought community members together to learn about CASA’s mission and volunteer opportunities, while sharing a meal and supporting local businesses. This event would not have been possible without her fundraising vision, planning, and sustained commitment.
Representative Regina Barrow
Legislator of the Year
CASA New Orleans
Senator Regina Barrow has demonstrated continued commitment to youth aging out of the foster care system through her leadership on the SCR Taskforce on Extending the Age of Foster Care, as well as her role in developing SB 109. This senate bill passed in 2019, officially extending the age of foster care to 21. In addition to these accomplishments, Senator Barrow is an attentive listener and encouraging advocate for youth. She ensured that these youth and their stories were treated with respect and given as much time as they needed during their testimony at the legislature, pushing her fellow legislators to follow through and create a program that best serves their needs.
Honorable David Matlock
Judge of the Year
Volunteers for Youth Justice
Judge Matlock has shown deep commitment to fostering innovative approaches to addressing complex trauma in children and their families that come before his court. He has convened community wide groups, initiated specialized training in Trust Based Relational Interventions, developed a “calming studio” at the courthouse, and introduced a trauma puppy all to help children heal from the trauma they have experienced. He values each and every party who is involved in the lives of our children and families and works diligently to produce better outcomes. Judge Matlock works closely with the CASA program of Volunteers for Youth Justice.
Program Staff Member of the Year
CASA of St. Landry-Evangeline, Inc.
Jeremy Richard is known as “Mr. CASA” around his community. His seemingly tireless dedication to CASA’s mission has increased CASA of St. Landry-Evangeline’s visibility. He supports his volunteer advocates with a warm, constructive leadership style. In addition to his work with as an Advocate Supervisor, he frequently tables at various community events, provides a friendly ear for volunteers, and assists other CASA programs in the region with staff training. He receives praise for his diligence, humility, and his willingness to be a team player for the volunteers he supervises.
Director of the Year
CASA of Terrebonne
When Donna Brunet stepped into her role as CASA of Terrebonne’s Executive Director, she wasted no time in growing the organization, by securing additional funding and increasing the organization’s visibility throughout Terrebonne Parish. She is praised by her staff for her team-oriented leadership style, and passion for CASA’s cause, having first become involved with CASA as a volunteer advocate.
Child Advocate of the Year
Capital Area CASA
JoAnn Johnson has shown diligence, compassion, and inexhaustible work ethic in support of her CASA child. She was assigned a difficult case in March 2014: her CASA child was an 18-month-old child with profound brain damage rendering him blind, mute, and unable to walk. Her advocacy was instrumental in finding him a safe, permanent home in February 2019. She forged a relationship with the child’s therapeutic foster mother – who initially was skeptical of CASA after a previous encounter with the organization – and assisted her with the child’s special needs, including attending doctor’s appointments to help lift the child in and out of the car when he grew too heavy for her alone. She worked tirelessly with DCFS and OCDD to ensure the equipment needs of the child were met, regardless of cost. She represents all of the characteristics of what a CASA volunteer advocate should be.