Pierce County Juvenile Court hosted its annual themed volunteer appreciation luncheon on Saturday, April 20, to recognize CASAs for the work they do for our county’s most vulnerable children. In addition, seven CASAs were honored for outstanding contributions. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are trained volunteers who speak up for abused and neglected children in the court system.
The CASA Appreciation Luncheon was supported by donations from The Bumstead Family Foundation, Les Schwab and The Vault Catering Co. at Ct C Venue. Judges, commissioners and legislators greeted CASA volunteers as they entered the event through a telephone booth (revealing CASA superhero identities by donning capes and masks). Retired Justice Bobbe Bridge, CEO and President of Center for Children & Youth Justice, was the keynote speaker at Saturday’s lively event. SuperCASAs, Karen Worstell, Gabrielle Smith, Vanessa Marin, Emily Taylor, Cindy Scott and Sue Mayer were recognized for their special super powers of being steadfast and strong advocates. CASA of the Year, Mary Bartley, is a tireless volunteer. In addition to her strong advocacy of the children, Mary is also a steward of the CASA program. She is very active in CASA recruitment and retention efforts and has worked hours with staff and other volunteers to improve the CASA program.
Pierce County's program celebrates 30 years of existence this year. The program began in 1983 with three CASAs and has grown to 230 volunteers who currently advocate for nearly 600 children.
The goal is to provide a CASA volunteer for every abused and neglected child in the Pierce County Juvenile Court system. Over 660 children do not have a CASA, so the need for more volunteers is high. The program continually recruits individuals interested in becoming CASAs and needs individuals who are thorough, logical, reliable and have 5-10 hours per month available to volunteer. Training is provided five times throughout the year. For more information, contact Carrie Appling at 253-798-3837 or [email protected].