Fourteen Volunteers Sworn In as Baltimore CASAs

BALTIMORECourt Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Baltimore, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring abused and neglected children reach safe, permanent and loving homes swore in 14 new child advocates.

The following individuals were welcomed to the program during a ceremony at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center led by the honorable Robert Kershaw, Associate Judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court:

Tonja Brown-Hurst of Seton Hill
Molly Coplan of Riverside
Stacey Crest of Pigtown
Julie Durr of Franklin Square
Anna Fernando of Federal Hill
Derrell Frazier of Kenilworth Park
Morine Lewis of Ten Hills
Carolyn Lynch of Woodberry
Amanda Menke of Greektown
Robin Parker-Jones of Gwynn Oak
Audrey Sellers of Harwood
Emily Smith of Canton
Joshua Sullivan of Federal Hill
Semone Watson of Cockeysville

CASA volunteers are everyday members of the community doing extraordinary work by choosing to speak up for abused and neglected children in their communities. They are screened and trained, then appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of a child or sibling group in the foster care system.

Left to right: Robin Parker-Jones, Joshua Sullivan, Molly Coplan, Emily C. Smith, Tonja Brown-Hurst, Amanda Menke, Audrey Sellers, Stacey Crest, Julie Durr, Morine Lewis, Carolyn Lynch, Anna Fernando, Derrell Frazier, Nancy Blackwell and Judge Kershaw.

(L to R): Robin Parker-Jones, Joshua Sullivan, Molly Coplan, Emily C. Smith, Tonja Brown-Hurst, Amanda Menke, Audrey Sellers, Stacey Crest, Julie Durr, Morine Lewis, Carolyn Lynch, Anna Fernando, Derrell Frazier, Nancy Blackwell and Judge Kershaw.

“Often, our volunteers are the only constant presence in the lives of the children and youth they are appointed to,” said Nancy Kay Blackwell, executive director for CASA of Baltimore, Inc. “We welcome this new group with open arms and are excited for them to start providing on-on-one advocacy for children in need within our communities,” she added.

The newest group of CASAs includes college students, retirees, working professionals and registered nurses. They bring their own individual strengths to CASA of Baltimore, but all have the same goal in mind.

Carolyn Lynch

(L to R): Nancy Blackwell, Carolyn Lynch, Judge Kershaw

“Being a CASA volunteer aligns with my personal mission of giving back and lifting up others,” said Lynch, a CPA and consultant as well as a part owner in an IT Services company. “I credit the advocates in my life for creating a support system to allow me to launch and realize my dreams; being a CASA will allow me to provide a specific and lasting impact in the life of a vulnerable child,” she added.

On describing her new involvement with CASA, Sellers, a personal care provider for an elderly gentleman stated: “It’s a good thing to do, and if you can do a good thing, you should do it.”

Audrey Sellers

(L to R): Nancy Blackwell, Audrey Sellers, Judge Kershaw

No special experience is required to become a CASA volunteer; training and supervision are provided by professional staff. For more information about volunteer opportunities with CASA of Baltimore, Inc., call 410-244-1465 or visit www.casabalt.org.

About CASA of Baltimore Inc.

Founded in 1988, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Baltimore, Inc. serves abused and neglected children by representing their voices in the Baltimore City court system and advocating for their best interests in the judicial, educational, medical and social service communities.

The non-profit recruits, trains and supervises CASAs to provide written, objective recommendations to the Court; to serve as a consistent adult presence, and to monitor that child’s well-being. As advocates, the volunteers ensure that their assigned child’s best interests are heard and understood by the Court. CASA volunteers aid in the transition from the foster care system to a safe permanent home, giving hope and support to Baltimore’s children. For more information, visit www.casabalt.org; outside Baltimore, visit www.marylandcasa.org.

 

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