Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 11, 2014

CASA recognizes volunteers of year

STILLWATER, Okla. — Abused and neglected children don’t control the hand they’ve been dealt, but they’re luck can change when a Court Appointed Special Advocate sits down at the table to spin the house of cards that sometimes follows a kid into the system.

CASAs help change lives by dealing with all the players when a child enters the court system. As an advocate, CASAs study and research the situation to seek out what is in the best interest of a child. Empowered directly by the courts, they check on the child’s home life, visit with teachers and offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are met. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.

“What our volunteers do is a big deal,” said CASA Executive Director Carmen Miller. “CASAs are a strong voice for children and we appreciate supporters to our program such as Mattlin Stanek taking on our CASA goody bag project with her 4-H Club to promote citizenship and community service.”

Stanek’s mother, Kendra Moreland, said the entire 4-H club collected items throughout the year and filled the CASA goody bags for the Payne County Adoption Party in May.

Miller said the CASA staff was fortunate to have volunteers and supporters throughout the community. She recognized outgoing Board President Keith Disney with the Leadership Award. Other officers were Vice President Jason Pogue and Treasurer Dewey Clapp.

Outgoing Board Secretary Kirsten Fullerton is the CASA new board president. She was recognized as the board member of the year. New board officers are Vice President Joe Hladik, Secretary Lyz Metcalf and Treasurer Leann DeLong. Metcalf is also serving as the chairman of the volunteer committee/party. Other board members include Staci Bejcek, Ryan Burries, Todd Brown, Matt Foster, Sheri Gumm, Lissette Minges, Gerri Petty, Judy Stevison, Steven Taylor, Karrie Woods and Mae Badiyan.  

Miller also recognized Katie Oomens for assisting her in the office, along with office staff Cat Pierce, Trisha Glenn and Jen Smith. Miller said her mother, Jeri Robertson, and husband, Ray Miller, are invaluable help in supporting her in her position as director of CASA.

Active volunteers during 2013-14 include Patti Ahrberg, John Bode, Tracy Carter, Ben and Jean Crockett, Debbie Fimple, Ynetta Hamilton, Glenna Huff, Jim and Jean Key, Gwen Lee, Deborah Meinke, Stephen Miller, Lisa Nasalroad, Mia Owens, Cat Pierce, Ed Robinson, Earline Schreiner, Jayne Spencer, Carol Steichen, Becky Szlichta, Sharon Whitney and Sharon Wright.

First year volunteers were Becky Anderson, Aurora Burns, Bob Charles, Lisa Nasalroad and Chasen Shaw. Volunteers starting in the fall were Elizabeth Beck, Anna Green-Hicks, Tom Harrell, Terrie Kerr and Cherie Shupert. Kristina Egnor, Molleigh Robinson and Debra Cobb became volunteers in the spring. In June, six more volunteers joined CASA including Susan Chastain, Pam Cotton, Nicole Hall, Kathleen Mixon, Jen Moeller and Ashley Newman.

Miller recognized many award winners. Terrie Kerr was honored with the Most Time Given Award with 165 hours and the Most Miles Driven Award for 1,818 miles since October. Gwen Lee was named the Volunteer of the Year.

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