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Eight community volunteers were sworn in as officers of the court by Fourth Judicial District Court Chief Judge William Bain during a CASA of the Pikes Peak Region swearing-in ceremony held virtually via Zoom on Friday.

These volunteers are now ready to advocate for abused and neglected children in our area during their time in the child welfare system. Each volunteer will be assigned to an open Dependency & Neglect case so that they may speak up for and advocate for the child or children on that case.

The new advocates are Shannon Bader, Kelly Benthem, Carol Breglio, Margarita Chavez, Sheila Dunn, Kyla Greenfield, Hannah Juniel and Megan O’Connell.

The number of children coming into CASA’s program has doubled since the pandemic began, and more community volunteers are needed to ensure that these children are placed in safe and permanent homes as quickly as possible.

Last week’s swearing-in ceremony was the final step for these eight volunteers who recently completed a five-week online training course covering topics such as trauma, resiliency, poverty, mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and the role of the CASA volunteer.

CASA’s next training class begins in mid-January and community members who are interested in becoming CASA volunteers should attend one of two upcoming information sessions, both taking place over Zoom:

  • Virtual “Dudes and Brews” Info Hour at 6 p.m. Nov. 10
  • Virtual Information Session on at 2 p.m. Dec. 2

Sign up at casappr.org/volunteer/.

A 501©(3) charitable organization founded in 1989, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region is a local program of the National CASA Association. Serving El Paso and Teller counties, the organization’s core mission is to recruit, train, and support citizen volunteers in its Dependency & Neglect program to provide a voice and advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect.

The nonprofit also operates a Supervised Exchange & Parenting Time program, Milton Foster Children’s Fund & the Hanger, Life Long Links, and Children & Families in Transition. With nearly 400 volunteers who put in roughly 19,000 hours in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region provided advocates for 715 children and served a total of 2,100 children through its four programs.

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