SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash., September 9, 2022—For their advocacy work last year, twenty-eight Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers were honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) on August 22. The PVSA recognizes the nation’s most outstanding volunteers for contributing significant amounts of time to the organizations they support.
“Every child deserves a hero in their life, but for the children we serve, they deserve a superhero,” said Joelle Kelly, Division Manager for Snohomish County’s Office of the CASA said in a press release last month. “All our CASA volunteers who are recognized with the PVSA are superheroes who do this important, life-changing work. It’s a tremendous honor to have our volunteers recognized for the many hours they give to such an important cause.”
The PVSA has three tiers of annual recognition and a lifetime achievement award for volunteers to earn. Each honoree was awarded a bronze, or silver, medallion, and pin as well as a personal thank you letter from President Joe Biden.
Linda Goodwin, Kathryn Greenburg, Anna Pasztirko, and Lisa White were awarded the Silver PVSA for volunteering between 100 and 250 hours of service, advocating for 109 abused or neglected children collectively, and totaling 21 years of combined experience as CASA volunteers.
Bronze PCSA recipients were Julie Berg, Zachary Coffee, Carol Cooper, Denise Crosby, Rachel Escoto, Emily Fountain, Kristina Jipson, Janet Matta, Rosie Midget, Judith Miller, Janis Nantz, Christine Osburn, Garnet Parish, Virginia Rathburn, McKenna Rector, Renee Robinson, Robin Rothbart, Suzanne Schmitt, Kalyani Sendil, Kimberly Thomas, Lorraine Voss, Kenneth Weisenbach, Dean Wilkinson, and Erica Wilkinson for volunteering 100 hours of service or more.
The Office of the CASA anticipates awarding the Gold PVSA award next year to volunteer recipients for their service contributed in 2022.
This was CASA’s first time participating in the President’s Volunteer Service Award program, which was founded in 2003 to recognize the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity.
A CASA volunteer is a sworn officer of the court who gathers fact-based information about a child’s, who may have been abused, situation. As an advocate for the child, the CASA speaks with individuals involved in their life so they can make objective recommendations to the court regarding a child’s future; whether this be reunifying them with their parents, living with relatives, guardianship or adoption. To do this, volunteers present reports to the court with their recommendations, attends all court hearings for the child, visits the child on a regular basis and participates in case related meetings, following through on the case until it is permanently resolved.
Snohomish County CASA is actively recruiting volunteers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The Office of the CASA hosts weekly informational sessions for community members who are interested in learning about volunteering as a CASA and helping to change a child’s story. Volunteers do not have to be lawyers or social workers but they must adhere to a criminal background check and participate in an in-person interview.
For more information, visit https://snohomishcountywa.gov/CASA or email CASA@snoco.org.