Feb. 23—Today's Daily Citizen-News features a story on Janet Lovelady, who retired last month after 18 years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). During that time, Lovelady fulfilled a vital role in Whitfield and Murray counties as an advocate for children who through no fault of their own had been removed from their home because of abuse and/or neglect.
CASAs have the difficult but essential role of deciding what is in the best interest of the child and then making recommendations to the court handling the matter.
Lovelady "has effectively handled some of the program's most difficult cases, including cases of high-need, medically-fragile children, and children who have suffered egregious sexual and physical abuse," said Chelsea DeWaters, manager for the CASA program that is under the Family Support Council. "She is persistent, diligent in her investigations, treats everyone with respect, is a good listener, and is thorough and compassionate, but firm."
We commend Lovelady for her great service, and we also hear her when she says "I'd love to see more people get involved with CASA, because there's a need, and we have a lot of people in this community who would be good" at it.
Our two counties have well-deserved reputations as places where people step forward selflessly to meet such needs, as Lovelady has done, and this is another situation where compassion and love are needed.
As Lovelady said, "When you see the success stories, you feel a peace. That they're in a safe environment makes you feel good."
So we ask, as Lovelady did, can you help, and do you want to help?
If so, the next CASA volunteer training begins March 1. If you are interested in learning more, contact Tracy Harmon, CASA's volunteer outreach coordinator, at (706) 428-7931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage you if you can to be that difference in a child's life through the CASA program, as Lovelady was for so many years.
You too may feel that peace.