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CASA - Advocates for Kids
Serving Montana's Lewis & Clark, Broadwater, and Meagher Counties Since 1998
New CASA Training Great Success
We just finished up a great new volunteer training period here at CASA - Advocates for Kids. Nine new volunteers completed the training. The caseload in Helena is at a record high this year so it's really great to have some new volunteer faces around. We're always looking for more volunteers, so if you are interested, or know anyone who is interested in volunteering with CASA, please email Pam Young or call her at 457-0797. More information will be posted at a later date about the next pre-service training.
Program Director Bill Collins Honored by National CASA
On June 11, National CASA recognized the 2011 Awards of Excellence winners at the NCASA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Bill Collins, recently retired director of the Helena CASA program, was chosen to receive the prestigious Kappa Alpha Theta CASA/GAL Program Director of the Year award. Bill devoted the last thirteen years of his career to the CASA program in Helena, and touched the lives of countless children, parents, and others involved in the child welfare system. Moreover, Bill is the first male recipient in the history of the award. Read more about Bill's invaluable contribution to the Helena community here.
Annual Helena CASA Awards Ceremony
On May 23, Helena CASA recognized two individuals whose commitment to local children is an inspiration to our organization and community. District Judge James Reynolds presented the awards to Volunteer of the Year Susan Duncan and Community Service Award recipient Marylis Filipovich in the capitol rotunda.
Susan Duncan has worked with the local CASA program for three years. In that time, she has demonstrated a commitment far beyond what is required of her. Last summer, Susan recognized the need to locate family for one of her CASA kids, and attended an ongoing seminar to learn the Family Find process with the goal of engaging a family network for a 9-year-old boy who had no one to support him during the ups and downs of life in the foster care system. Her efforts led to a strong display by the family of confidence and commitment which cannot be underestimated when working with neglected and abused children in foster care. Susan has also offered her services as a mentor, working with new volunteers as they take on their first case, guiding them through the convoluted and daunting child welfare system. CASA – Advocates for Kids would like to recognize Susan’s optimism and energy in all of her cases, as well as her continued commitment to the best interests of abused and neglected children in the Helena area.
Marylis Filipovich moved to Helena from Anaconda 25 years ago, where she had worked as a child protection specialist. She soon went on to receive her master’s degree in social work at the University of Utah, where she focused her studies on how to help parents become the kind of parents they want to be: parents who raise their children to be healthy and happy. Upon receiving her MSW, Marylis worked as a therapist in many capacities, focusing on working with adolescents and their parents. In her work with the Alternative Youth Adventures, Marylis saw the positive effect wilderness treatment programs had on adolescents, and was inspired to co-found Three Rivers Montana, a wilderness treatment program based north of Belgrade. The program is designed as a family program, and works equally with the adolescents and their parents. For the past three years, Marylis has been the Home Visiting Program Manager for the Lewis & Clark City-County Health Department, which has allowed her to continue her work helping parents learn to parent well. CASA – Advocates for Kids would like to recognize Marylis’s contribution to the community with her unwavering commitment to helping families thrive under difficult circumstances.
Helena CASA Program Honored at Annual State Service Awards
CASA - Advocates for Kids was recently presented with an award from the Governor’s Office of Community Service at the ServeMontana Symposium held at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel.
“This is a room filled with the spirit that makes Montana great,” Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger told those at the ceremony.
Ellen Bush, executive director for the program statewide, said Helena’s program is well respected, and she credits much of that to Collins’ leadership. Collins recently announced his intent to retire next month.
“We are proud to honor these individuals and organizations who represent the true spirit of civic engagement.” said Kim Miske, chair of the Montana Commission on Community Service.
The awards ceremony luncheon was part of the 2012 ServeMontana Symposium, a two-day conference focused on providing training and resources for national service programs, nonprofits and organizations that use and support volunteers.
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