Some of the area's most essential volunteers will be honored Wednesday -- CASA Works, Inc. is hosting a noon luncheon at Fair Haven Baptist Church.
Among those to be celebrated are the volunteers and supporters of the organization which serves the abused and neglected children in the juvenile courts of Bedford, Coffee and Franklin counties.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and offers each child his own advocate -- a volunteer trained to observe, assist and speak up for that child. CASA serves children who have come to the attention of the juvenile court for abuse or neglect issues.
"We hope to inspire people to give to the CASA mission of volunteers advocating in Juvenile Court for abused children," said Lynne Farrar, executive director for the non-profit.
Nationally, CASA was created in 1977 in Seattle, Wash., by Judge David Soukup.
The organization was founded locally in 2000 by Farrar and Denise Hobbs-Coker under the umbrella of the Center for Family Development, breaking away two years ago as an independent non-profit. It originally served Bedford and Coffee counties, adding Franklin County this year.
Volunteers are appointed by area juvenile judges and complete 35 hours of training and court observation along with 12 hours of in-service training in the judicial process, child abuse detection and dynamics, interviewing skills and the child placement process.
Unlike state caseworkers, the local advocates may only have one or two cases at a time, allowing them to focus more completely on the children under their care.