New CASA Volunteers Megan Sooter, Molly Hester, Holly Bruns, Ivy Farrow, Jack Sills, Michele Sowers, Samantha Dinwiddie, and Jessica Burnett with Judge Tim Irwin

New CASA Volunteers Megan Sooter, Molly Hester, Holly Bruns, Ivy Farrow, Jack Sills, Michele Sowers, Samantha Dinwiddie, and Jessica Burnett with Judge Tim Irwin

On Tuesday, December 18, we had a full house as we welcomed a group of eight new volunteers being sworn in as Court Appointed Special Advocates by Judge Tim Irwin at Knox County Juvenile Court.

These volunteers are going to be strong advocates for children. During our training we learned that several of our volunteers had experience ranging from previous work with DCS, foster parenting, adoptive parenting, a law student and a retired chaplain.

All our new volunteers came to trainings ready to learn and inquisitive. They studied their materials and asked questions relating the information they were learning back to what they would be doing as CASAs. This class had a special focus for ensuring their report writing was accurate, unbiased, and truly focused on the best interest of the children they would be serving.

Our new volunteers were excited about swearing in and brought friends and family with them to memorialize the event, including one young man who wanted to come and meet the Judge who had been a major part in finding his own forever family. He was so moved by the experience he went to school the next day, which happened to be his adoption anniversary, to share his experience with his classmates.

During swearing in, Judge Irwin welcomed our new volunteers and encouraged them to be courageous in their reporting and advocacy for abused and neglected children in Knoxville. He reminded them of the importance of having someone to be his eyes and ears in the community as he makes important life changing decisions for these children every day.

After swearing in, all our new volunteers took on cases that day. A couple of them chose to work together to be a support to one another and many of them found mentors from seasoned CASAs they asked to support them through their first case. Each one of them jumped right in with enthusiasm to be a part of making a difference in the lives of the children we serve.

By Ada Hernandez-Bell
Program Manager
CASA of East Tennessee