Overton County CASA recently announced the winners of items given away at the Overton County Agricultural Fair in July.

Winning a country ham donated by Jerry’s IGA was Tracy Sells of Overton County; winning the $25 IGA gift certificate was Randy Thrasher of Livingston; and winning a rocking chair donated by Speck Funeral Home was Jeff Cales of Pickett County.

Each year 20,000 children across Tennessee are found to be in need of a CASA Volunteer. In the past six months of 2019, the CASA-Overton County program has served 16 children with only 6 advocates, who serve as the children’s voice.

The Overton County CASA program was initially organized prior to 2011, with former Juvenile Court Judge John Officer, forming a committee to construct and obtain accreditation of the state and national CASA agency. Court Appointed Special Advocates are the voice of abused and neglected children in juvenile court. These volunteers represent the best interests of the victimized child with the goal of securing a safe, permanent home; they are possibly the one constant adult presence in their lives at a most unstable and traumatic time of their life.

When a CASA volunteer is there to advocate for a child, that child is less likely to languish in the foster care system, half as likely to stay in long term, and half as likely to re-enter the system. That single volunteer can often be enough to break the cycle of violence and neglect, not just for one child but for generations to come.

As a CASA Volunteer, you will get to know the children with whom you work, their families, and their stories, giving you the insight you need to give recommendations that are in the best interest of the child. Because of this, no other volunteer experience is as potentially life-changing for you and a child as being a CASA Volunteer.

CASA Volunteers help children navigate the most stressful time of their lives. Preventing adverse childhood experiences directly improves the health outcomes and earnings potential when children grow up to be adults – so CASA Volunteers are uniquely positioned to make a lasting, positive impact on a child, changing the trajectory of the child’s life and benefiting the community as a whole.

No prior experience is expected or necessary to become a volunteer. All of the tools CASA Volunteers need to be successful advocates will be given to them through the CASA Volunteer Training Program. CASA Volunteering is different from any other volunteer opportunity. Every CASA case will be challenging, but you will be able to accomplish more than you ever thought possible in changing the course of a child’s life. You can make a difference.

For more information, contact Sarah Hogue or Chris Dilts at UCHRA/CASA at (931) 823-7323 or casaovertonco@uchra.com.