The volunteers that help Court Appointed Special Advocates of South Central Kentucky provide services for children in the court system were honored at a luncheon Friday at Mariah’s restaurant.
Karen Kane-Roby was the recipient of the 2019 Hugo Becker Volunteer Advocate of the Year. She has been a CASA volunteer for three years and worked consistently with the same three children. According to Diane Eidson, the CASA advocate coordinator, the case is coming to an end with three adoptions pending.
“To stand up for these children and to be an extra set of eyes for them in the courtroom has been an absolute honor to me,” Roby said. “The advocacy involved a team effort. We need more advocates and this program leads to such a difference. Every court hearing, every communication got us one step closer to helping these children.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been able to stay on the case,” she said. “I learned that patience is a virtue. As this case comes to a close in the next 90 days, my three CASA kids will be able to receive finality and permanency.”
CASA executive director Jana Sublett said the awards handed out Friday are for “people who go above and beyond.”
Also honored Friday were the agency’s Community Partner of the Year and the Margaret Ryan Huddleston Guardian Ad Litem of the Year.
The Community Partner of the Year was awarded to Lil’ Angels Attic. Lil’ Angels Attic is a ministry that started at Broadway United Methodist Church.
“We are Bowling Green’s only consignment sale for charity, meaning 100 percent of our profits are donated to charities whose missions support women and children,” said Jessica Massey, who spoke on behalf of the shop. “It was started in 2002 by a mom at Broadway that was looking for a way to serve her community and her church while also clothing her children. What we have become is a force in the community and a force of good.
“We now are a committee of about 30 people (and) have about 300 consigners. ... We try to narrow down our donations to organizations that really align with our mission to benefit women and children in Warren County. CASA is the safe space for children in their darkest times. That is amazing work and transformative work,” Massey said.
Glasgow native Cheryl Berry was the recipient of the 2019 Margaret Ryan Huddleston Guardian Ad Litem of the Year award.
Berry has been practicing family law in courts around Kentucky and said that it wasn’t a conscious decision to practice family law but it was what she was drawn to.
“To me, the most important piece of a child’s life in hard times is the CASA friend a child makes,” she said. “It truly does take a village but the most important person in that village is the CASA worker.”
Sublett said CASA always needs more volunteers.
“We have 81 volunteers right now. We were able to serve 236 kids last year but that is only 18 percent of the need here. There’s a huge gap in what we are serving and what we need to be serving,” she said.
– More information about volunteering is available at casaofsck.org/volunteer.