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CASA -- Volunteer event held

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Awards presented to eight
LEBANON -- Wilson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the men and women who make their work possible with a volunteer dinner on Thursday, April 7.

The dinner, held in the Stonebridge Clubhouse, offered volunteers a delicious meal and time to fellowship before a select few were honored for their commitment to CASA.

Awards included:
Extraordinary Service Award - George Norrie;
Community Champion Award - Kristina Hibdon;
Dedication Award - John Gorman;
Visionary Award - Pam Peery;
Spirit Award - Kelly Edmonds;
Commitment to the CASA Cause Award - Pat Gwin;
Great Healer Award - Debbie Jennings;
and the Rookie of the Year Award - Debbie Hobbs-Leftwich.

Both the crowd and the presenters were at times tearful as stories were shared about the work CASA advocates and volunteers do to help the community.

CASA Executive Director Cathey Sweeney was presented with a bouquet of flowers for her dedication as well.

A CASA volunteer is a trained individual who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interest of a child in court. Children helped by CASA volunteers include those who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.

Each volunteer typically has no more than two cases at a time and does not replace the family service worker, rather the volunteer acts as an independent appointee of the court.

The CASA volunteer can thoroughly examine a child's case, has knowledge of community resources and can make a recommendation to the court, independent of state agency restrictions.

CASA volunteers undergo a thorough training course produced by the National CASA Association.

It is led by staff locally at Wilson County CASA. An average training session involves 30 hours.

Contact Sabrina Garrett - sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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