Annapolis, Md. – Anne Arundel County CASA, Inc. swore in its 40th class of CASA volunteers on June 4th by Judge Laura Kiessling at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse. The county now has ten additional volunteers to advocate for the needs of the over 200 abused and neglected children of the county.
“I am so proud to share that we have reached an amazing milestone – training our 40th class of CASA volunteers! This amazing group of individuals will have the opportunity to become ‘that adult’ who makes a positive difference in the life of a child – an influence that will endure throughout their life,” said Rebecca Tingle, Executive Director of Anne Arundel County CASA, Inc. since 2005. “We are so grateful that they have answered ‘the call’ and welcome all of them to our CASA family of volunteers,” she added.
“I’m proud and humbled to be a member of the 40th class of volunteers for Anne Arundel County,” said Nicole Dunkle, a resident of Baltimore City who was sworn in to serve. “I was very impressed with the others in my class and truly believe everyone joined CASA for all of the right reasons,” she added.
CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who speak in court for the best interests of children. Judges appoint a CASA to an abused or neglected child who has been removed from his or her home, and helps to ensure that the child receives appropriate care and services while he or she is in the court system.
Also sworn in was Robert Murray, Margaret “Midge” Coppersmith, Brad Senn, Grant Harmon, and Caryn Weaver of Annapolis, David & Jean Williamson of Tracy’s Landing, Amanda Beale of Glen Burnie, and Michael Canary of Severna Park.
“I am very much looking forward to providing a voice for children in need,” said Dunkle. “I hope that by gathering information and making positive recommendations on what’s best for these children, I’ll be able to help paint a larger picture of what it takes to make a difference,” she added.
Dunkle earned a B.S. in English and an M.S. in Management at the University of Maryland. She currently serves as the Director of Talent Acquisition for Erickson Living, a company that manages continuing care retirement communities throughout the U.S.
“I’ve always believed in giving back to your community, and I feel this volunteer program helps to give a child in need a voice when they would otherwise have none,” said Dunkle.
Weaver, an entrepreneur and resident of Annapolis, was also sworn in to advocate for the abused and neglected children of Anne Arundel County.
“Having a big heart and a lot of compassion for children is what led me to become a CASA volunteer,” said Weaver. “I’ve always been an advocate for kids, but I’m hoping that as a CASA, I’ll be able to provide some stability and love for kids that otherwise may not have had that before”.
Weaver was recently assigned to the case of three siblings who are all seeking a safe, loving, and permanent home.
“Although it might be a little heart-wrenching at times, I think it will be most rewarding to know that I’m pushing myself and working toward making a difference in these kids’ lives,” said Weaver.
Aside from serving children as a CASA volunteer, Weaver also likes to help out Anne Arundel County CASA with graphic design, miscellaneous office duties, fund-raising, public awareness events and other functions throughout the year.
“With the help of our local community, we can meet our goal of serving all of the children in foster care,” said Tingle. “Please join our family of CASA volunteers and turn a life of hurt to one of hope.”
Currently, there are 231 children are under court protection as a result of abuse and neglect in Anne Arundel County, 106 of whom are in need of CASA volunteers.
No special experience is required to become a CASA volunteer; training and ongoing supervision are provided by professional staff. For more information about volunteer opportunities with CASA of Anne Arundel County, call 410-267-7877 or visit http://www.aacasa.org.
About CASA of Anne Arundel County
Since 1997, Anne Arundel County CASA has advocated for abused and neglected children who are involved in juvenile court proceedings through no fault of their own. The non-profit achieves this mission through the dedicated work of volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates, who provide unwavering support for children to ensure their undeniable right to safe, stable and permanent homes. Anne Arundel County CASA has served more than 566 children since its inception and currently serves approximately 125 of the 231 children under court protection in the county. www.aacasa.org