JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Court Appoint Special Advocates, or CASA, of Jackson County celebrated another successful training program. These volunteers become mentors and positive influences on the lives of abused and neglected children.
These induction ceremonies happen multiple times throughout the year. But this one had Frances Allsup even more excited about the future of the program.
"It's amazing the support that they give to these children," said Allsup.
In 2006, she got on board as Executive Director. Back then, the program only had four active volunteers. Now, it's up to 102, including the 17 inductees being honored at this ceremony.
"I believe in this program, the mission that we have. I see it work and I see the difference that it makes," said Allsup.
Seventeen is the highest number of volunteers Allsup has seen be inducted in a while. It's the people in these classes who give Youth Court Judge Sharon Sigalas an invaluable point of view in her cases.
"They allow me to have their input from a totally different perspective than the department of human services or the family, or any other person involved in the case," said Sigalas.
Sigalas looks forward to swearing in new volunteers at the end of every training session. Each volunteer has his or her own reason for joining. Julia Noble and her husband recently chose to adopt, and they didn't want to stop there.
"We just need to help other children out there in the community and be able to help them get to a safe, permanent home," said Noble.
All 17 new volunteers went through a rigorous certification program that included 30 hours of classroom training. Noble now knows that she is ready to become an influence on many abused and neglected children. She said she relies on the training to get her mentally prepared, but there's also another factor she said she can't do without.
"A lot of prayer," said Noble.
The Jackson County CASA is an agency of the United Way and is always looking for more volunteers. Learn more about how you can help: http://www.jccasa.net/