CASA of Baltimore County Welcomes 13 New Advocates

Baltimore County - 4.27

Front Row: Melinda Spivey-Palamides, Denise Andrews, Erin Tracht, Emily Grant Back Row: Stephanie Wenger, David Klindienst, Joan Gardiner, Nkosi Halim, Lisa Gootee, Dorothy Freas, Judge Bailey

Towson, MD Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Baltimore County, a local program of Maryland CASA Association, swore in a new class of volunteer advocates in a ceremony that took place in the Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson, Maryland last week on April 27, 2016.

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, is non-profit network of organizations that works to ensure victims of child abuse and neglect their right to safe, permanent homes. The organizations recruit and train volunteers to advocate for the best interests of these children in the court system. CASA of Baltimore County, one of 15 local CASA programs throughout the state of Maryland and 950 throughout the country, aims to serve the abused and neglected children of Baltimore County through trained adult advocacy.

A class of 13 volunteers was sworn in by Judge Sherrie R. Bailey, Associate Judge for Baltimore County Circuit Court, 3rd Judicial Circuit. Volunteers completed a rigorous training process, and though they range from teachers to retirees to college deans, all have come together to share in the mission of ensuring every child their right to safe and permanent homes.

“As a speech-language pathologist, I have worked with children in foster care for many years and these children always held a special place in my heart,” commented Dorothy Freas, a Baltimore native. “As a mom, I am committed to helping these children navigate the system to get to their forever home so they can build strong, attached relationships. As a citizen, I think it is important to give back to our community and help empower our youth.”

“I think the most rewarding part of being a CASA Volunteer will be helping to ensure the safety and well-being of a young person,” said Rebecca Miller, a resident of Parkton, MD. “Seeing [my CASA child] meet & exceed his goals is also very rewarding.”

“As a relatively new member of the community, I want to get more involved, especially in a way where I can have a direct, positive, long-term influence on the life of a child,” said David G. Klindienst, the Director of Graduate Business Program Development at Loyola University, and Towson area native.

Other individuals sworn in include Denise Andrews of Owings Mills, Joan Gardiner of Middle River, Lisa Gootee of Nottingham, Emily Grant of Baltimore, Nkosi Halim of Catonsville, Stephanie Wenger of Parkville, Erin Tracht of Catonsville, Melinda Spivey-Palamides of Towson, LaRaye Alderman of Parkville, and Carrie Wilson of Baltimore.

“We are so excited for this new volunteer class to get out there and start advocating,” said Jennifer Stine, Executive Director for CASA of Baltimore County. “They have worked hard, and the children they will be advocating for will be in good hands.”

For more information regarding CASA of Baltimore County, or to find out how to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate, please visit www.casabaltco.org or contact Gwen Farrugia, Advocate Coordinator at gfarrugia@casabaltco.org or (410) 828-0515.