3rd Annual Advocate Appreciation Luncheon

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Bell and Coryell Counties held its 3rd annual Advocate Appreciation luncheon on Friday, November 3rd, at the Bell County Museum to honor and recognize over 140 volunteer advocates who devote their time to working with abused and neglected children in the CPS or foster care system in Bell and Coryell Counties.

The event also provided training on two very critical topics that volunteers can be faced with during their service on a case. Child sex trafficking awareness training and information about local resources available to the families in need were provided by experts on both topics. The focal point of the event was for CASA staff members and board leadership to recognize and give thanks for the special efforts of all CASA volunteers.

The luncheon was sponsored by the Bell County Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority Alumnae. Volunteer service awards were presented to more than 40of the volunteers in attendance. Volunteers were honored for milestones such as years served, miles traveled, and hours logged on casework acknowledging their achievements for serving over 300 local kids in Bell and Coryell Counties.

It was announced that in the past year, CASA volunteers traveled a total of 56,943 miles serving their cases and logged 4,910 hours of time devoted to their casework. CASA has added 55 new volunteer advocates in2023 and the value of the volunteer work performed by CASA advocates is almost$200,000 annually.

Eight advocates received very special awards in two categories created by the CASA staff for their efforts. Recognized for their Excellence in Court Recommendations were Cayla Colvin, Missy Nelson, Peter Barajas, and Doris Blake.

Angenette Burns, Kristal Mehrhof, Shirley Flowers, and Fred Morse were all given special awards for their Outstanding Performance on Case Files for their work during the past year. Other volunteers receiving special awards were Peggy Cunningham honored for 5 years of service as an advocate and LeighAnna Cina, Guy Slimp, and Sandra Miller all earning plaques for 3 years as CASA volunteer advocates. Awards were also presented to volunteers in categories such as most miles traveled for casework, most hours spent on casework, most in-service training hours earned, and most cases served during 2023.