July Volunteer of the Month – Marilynn Brasher

July VolunteerCourt Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Second Judicial District has selected Marilynn Brasher as the Volunteer of the Month for July.  Brasher, who is from Paragould, has been a volunteer since March 2016. Volunteers serve as sworn officers of the court, and help to investigate and gather information on cases when children are removed from a home due to abuse or neglect.  Brasher states, “being a CASA volunteer is hard, it’s frustrating, it’s rewarding and most of all, being a CASA volunteer is one of the BEST things I’ve ever done in my life”.

 

Amanda Frankenberger, Brasher’s Coordinator, says “Marilynn has the biggest heart and she has worked extremely hard this summer on behalf of a large sibling group in her case”. Without volunteers like Marilynn, CASA would not exist. “CASA is essential for children in foster care. It’s the perfect fit for me and has granted me an opportunity to give back to the community – to be a Voice for the Child. Most importantly, CASA always strives to keep what is in the best interest of the child”, Brasher added.

 

CASA appreciates the work Marilynn has accomplished and the many benefits it has brought children in foster care. If you are interested in becoming a child advocate please contact CASA at 870-935-1099 or visit them online at www.neacasa.org.

June Volunteer of the Month – Shannon Horton

unnamedThe Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program of the Second Judicial District has selected Shannon Horton as its Volunteer of the Month for May 2017.  Horton has served as a CASA volunteer since January 2017. Volunteers serve as sworn officers of the court, and help to investigate and gather information on cases when children are removed from a home due to abuse or neglect.

 

“I had been thinking about becoming a CASA volunteer for years, but I wanted to wait until my child was older, so I would have more time to invest. I knew this year was the perfect timing for me, mentally and situationally. I am passionate about working with children and wanted to be a voice for a child,” Horton said.

 

Jerri Mae Willis, Horton’s Advocate Coordinator said Horton worked hard to get a sibling group placed with a grandmother out of state. “That took calling the ICPC people in the grandmother’s state and in Little Rock and staying on top of it. Instead of it taking six months for this process, she and the DHS Program Assistant got this done in two short months; she called and emailed both states until they made it happen!”

 

When asked what surprised her most about her volunteer experience with CASA, Horton states, “It has actually surprised me how much the skills I use at work are being used here in my volunteer work: the researching, the investigating, the need to stay organized and on top of things.” Horton added, “It is such a cool feeling to see the hard work you put in advocating for these children. To see them taken care of, to see them happy; it feels like something I have never felt before. It is indescribable. They slowly just become your children and that’s my job, to do everything I can to protect these children.”

Horton is from Jonesboro, Arkansas. She enjoys hanging out with her husband and son when she is not volunteering with CASA.

May Volunteer of the Month – Jerry Wilcox

Jerry WilcoxThe Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program of the Second Judicial District has selected Jerry Wilcox as its Volunteer of the Month for April 2017.  A retired teacher and pastor, Wilcox has served as a CASA volunteer since October 2016.

 

“My wife, Cathey, was a volunteer for a year when I decided to become one too. I knew she was traveling a lot for her case and I thought if I became a volunteer too, I could travel with her and could help her out on her case.”Wilcox enjoyed working alongside of his wife; he eventually decided to take a case of his own. “My first case went very well. I was able to be a big help for the judge, the child, and the family. Now I am taking my second case and am working with a teenager.”

 

“Jerry worked his first case diligently and with immediate interest.  The case had many complications with all the different people involved.  He sorted through all of this and continually kept the interest of his child in mind. I never had to remind him to visit his child, never had to refocus his efforts or redirect his purpose.  He is a natural advocate that uses his life experiences and our training to guide him to the best solutions,” says Wilcox’s Advocate Coordinator, Michael Graham.

 

When asked what surprised him the most about his volunteer experience with CASA, Wilcox states, “the positive response from the people involved in the case surprised me; everyone genuinely wanted to help. I was also surprised to see how overburden the department is with so many cases and so few people to work the system.” Wilcox realizes there is a need out there for people to work with these children in the foster care system. “Anyone who has a genuine concern for children should investigate on how to become a CASA Advocate. I do not have to take any case, but I can choose to take a case that is requested of me and that is big on volunteering.”

 

Wilcox is from Black Oak, Arkansas. He retired from pastoring churches in Arkansas in 2014 and retired from teaching school in Trumann in 2006. His wife Cathey is an Advocate Coordinator for Poinsett County and they have three children and six grandchildren.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

C8hTLqqXUAA83GUNational Child Abuse Prevention Month, also known as Child Abuse Prevention Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse. April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983. Unfortunately, the number of abused and neglected children entering foster care in Arkansas continues to rise each year. Our volunteers advocate on behalf of hundreds of these children each year and play an essential role in finding safe and permanent housing for children. We believe  every child deserves a chance to succeed and grow up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect.

Strong, nurturing communities that are supportive of families can get involved and play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child and family well-being. If you want to no more about preventing child abuse or volunteering with CASA please contact us at 870-935-1099 complete an application on this website today.

March Volunteer of the Month – Jeremy Sheffer

J ShefferCongratulations to Jeremy Sheffer for being selected as our Volunteer of the Month for March! Jeremy is dedicated to being a voice for children in foster in Greene County.

Volunteers serve as sworn officers of the court, and help to investigate and gather information on cases when children have been removed from a home due to abuse or neglect.  The CASA information is provided to a judge who makes the decision whether appropriate steps have been taken to return the children to the home or to find them new, safe and permanent homes.  CASA volunteers also visit with the child or children at least two times a month to see if they are in a safe place, and if there are any items that might need to be addressed. They discuss current issues and interests of the children and intervene when assistance is required or requested

Jeremy has been a volunteer with CASA for two years and is one of our most trusted advocates.  “He is a busy man and he does an amazing job with his volunteer work”, said advocate coordinator Jeremy Irvin. Jeremy is a Crop Production Sales Manager for MFA Agri and has two teenage daughters.

Thank you Jeremy for your service and dedication to foster children in Greene County!

 

CASA Is Growing

Cathey Wilcox (3)

Cathey Wilcox

Northeast, AR – February 22, 2017– The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program of the 2nd Judicial District has added two Advocate Coordinators, Cathey Wilcox and Angie Tate.

Wilcox and Tate will focus heavily on recruiting more volunteers for the CASA program in Craighead, Greene, and Poinsett counties. “Our goal is to recruit 48 volunteers this year, says Executive Director, Jeremy Biggs. “With the amount of children in the foster care system in these three counties, there is a need for more volunteers so they can be a voice for the children while they are going through the court process.”

Angie Tate (3)

Angie Tate

Before joining the CASA program, Wilcox, a retired principal, served as a CASA volunteer for the past two years. She is a Jonesboro native, where her husband, Jerry Wilcox, is a retired pastor and is an active CASA volunteer. They have three children and six grandchildren. Tate, also a Jonesboro native, was the Recruiting Specialist at Express Employment Professionals. She has also been a CASA volunteer for the 2nd Judicial District and CASA of the 14th Judicial District. She has three children and two grandchildren. “CASA is very pleased to welcome Cathey and Angie, whose experience as former CASA volunteers combined with experience in recruitment, will help with meeting our goal of recruiting more volunteers than ever before. Their skills will strengthen our organization as they recruit volunteers to advocate for the children’s best interests,” says Megan Brown, Program Manager.

Ashley Cupp January Volunteer of the Month

Ashley Cupp Jan. 2017 aCongratulations to Ashley Cupp, who is CASA’s Volunteer of the Month for January 2017.

Ashley is an office manager for Graham’s Farms in Paragould and mother of two, Cupp has served as a CASA volunteer since September 2016. Volunteers serve as sworn officers of the court, and help to investigate and gather information on cases when children have been removed from a home due to abuse or neglect.  The CASA information is provided to a judge who makes the decision whether appropriate steps have been taken to return the children to the home or to find them new, safe and permanent homes.

“I wanted to make a difference in the life of a child in foster care and after attending a luncheon where I learned about CASA, I knew it was a perfect fit for that time in my life. I signed up that day to become a volunteer!”

CASA volunteers also visit with the child or children at least two times a month to see if they are in a safe place, and if there are any items that might need to be addressed. They discuss current issues and interests of the children and intervene when assistance is required or requested. “I had a set of siblings on my first case that were placed in separate homes. I knew that it was important for them to live together, so I made a   suggestion to the judge for them to be placed in a foster home together. They are now finally together in a wonderful foster home and are doing well.”

Every CASA volunteer has a Volunteer Coordinator that helps with all aspects of the work in addition to attending court hearings with them. “Ashley Cupp is a new volunteer that has completely impressed our program from day one,” says Amanda Frankenberger, Volunteer Coordinator/Supervisor of Greene County. “She is described by other CASA volunteers as ‘extremely organized and passionate.’” Frankenberger added, “She is absolutely amazing in Optima, our case management software, and I never have any doubt as to what is going on in her case.”

GIVING TUESDAY!

Giving Tuesday

Please Remember

The Children in Foster Care

Please Give!

Recently, I visited a young man in a group foster home. As I sat with him in the kitchen with the Legos I brought for him, the other boys gathered around and asked me, “How do I get a CASA volunteer?”

Our goal is to raise $10,000 on Giving Tuesday to provide volunteers for these children in group homes. They deserve a voice in court. Please help us meet our goal.

 

 

 

Sarah Mangroo Named Volunteer of the Month for November

sarah mangrooSarah Mangroo, who is also an Instructor of History at ASU-Newport, says she kept hearing and reading about CASA and then finally decided to learn what it was they do.  After investigating, she completed the training and is now managing two cases involving three children.  “I think my favorite thing about being a CASA Volunteer is when the children you are working for accept you, and then trust you and start to open up and share,” Mangroo says.  “That is a moment when I know my most important work is being done.”

Mangroo’s CASA Volunteer Coordinator, Desternie Sullivan, says she has received feedback from court and case personnel regarding the reports that Mangroo provides. “Her reports are amazing,” Sullivan says, “and even Parent Counsel said it was the best ‘dang’ report he’s ever read from a CASA advocate, and the child’s attorney agreed.”  “In addition,” Sullivan adds, “Sharon has helped the oldest child with his financial aid and helped the youngest girl have transportation arranged with Miracle Kids even after being moved outside of city limits. Finally,” Sullivan adds, “the children just love her. It shows in court, when her one child with special needs, always hugs and reaches for her.”

 

Seeking Executive Director to Continue Our Success

CASA of Northeast Arkansas, officially known as CASA of the 2nd Judicial District of Arkansas, is the second largest CASA organization in the state and one of 950 organizations in the country. A recent finalist for the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance “High Impact Non-Profit of the Year” award, the organization serves five counties in northeast Arkansas, with the goal to serve 100% all children in foster care by 2020. With 325 children served during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, the new Strategic Plan calls for CASA to provide funds and talent to serve all the children in foster care by 2020 (approximately 800 in 2015). This is a unique opportunity for a visionary leader to continue the organization’s award-winning growth and take it to the next level of excellence.

Priorities of the position include:

  • Diversifying the donor base, increasing individual and corporate donations, and developing and implementing a marketing plan to encourage endowments to benefit CASA through the Arkansas Community Foundation
  • Strengthening organizational infrastructure and capacity
  • Continuing to improve the organization’s impact by serving more children, improving children’s educational achievement, and advocating creatively in court for the children.
  • Maintaining/improving grant funding

The position will be open until filled. See more info:CASA Seeks Executive Director