Court Advocates for Children for Kittitas County
2013 Annual Report

       On December 03, 2013, approximately 104 persons attended “Celebration of Hope 2013,” a dinner to honor Court Advocates for Children’s volunteer court appointed special advocates (CASAs) and raise funds to sustain the work of the CASAs who advocate in Kittitas County Superior Court dependency actions for the best interests of abused and neglected children.
        Central Washington University music student Joe Saachi, opened and closed the program with two vocal selections. After a pot roast dinner catered by the Dakota Café, Court Advocates’ board president Mike McCloskey conducted the annual meeting of the not-for-profit corporation. He began by thanking the major sponsors and in-kind contributors to the event: Mark and Carrie Anderson; Armstrong’s Stove and Spa; Central Washington University Foundation; Old Mill Country Store; Perkins Restaurant; Puget Sound Energy; Rodeo City Kiwanis; Repp Family-1888 Building; Cashmere Valley Bank; John and Nancy Jewett; Jim and Carol Pidduck; Law Offices of C. K. Powers; Mankowski Dixon Law Group; Cintas, Inc. and Super 1 Foods. Numerous other individuals and businesses also provided door prizes, raffle and silent auction items.
        During the business meeting, those present elected Charles McGehee and Pat McFarland-Hansen as new members of the board of directors and extended the terms of board members Mike McCloskey and Mike Luvera. They elected Mike McCloskey, Mike Luvera, Joanne Cortese and Shelly Baird as the 2014 board officers.
        Mr. McCloskey and Executive Director Carol Pidduck announced the selection of volunteer CASA Nancy Graham as the “Judge JoAnne Alumbaugh Volunteer of the Year.” A CASA for two years, Ms. Graham is a thorough investigator who has advocated tenaciously for four children.
        Kittitas County Superior Court Presiding Judge Scott R. Sparks swore in Court Advocates’ newest volunteer, Staci Sleigh-Layman, as a court appointed special advocate.
Mr. McCloskey, Ms. Pidduck and Nancy A. Jewett, the CASA liaison to Court Advocates’ board of directors, recognized CASA Terri Sorenson and board member Kay Miles for their twenty-five years of volunteer service to the CASA program. They also thanked retiring board members Bea Fairburn and Michelle Cyrus.
        Mr. McCloskey introduced Cheyenne Cook as a 2013 recipient of the “Judge Michael E. Cooper Scholarship.” This scholarship was established by Court Advocates for Children in honor of retired superior court judge Michael Cooper, who was a strong supporter of children and the CASA program. The scholarship is for a student who has been a dependent child in Kittitas County and is now pursuing post-high school educational or vocational training opportunities. Ms. Cook is currently studying at Yakima Valley Community College to become a veterinary technician.
        In his closing remarks, President McCloskey noted the importance of the volunteer CASA program. With a CASA volunteer advocating for them, youth in foster or relative care are much more likely to be adopted or returned to a biological parent, less than half as likely to reenter foster care, and are more likely to receive needed services while in care. The need for volunteer CASAs continues to grow. As the executive director noted, the case load has quadrupled during the past thirteen years.
        To learn how you to become a volunteer CASA or to make a contribution to Court Advocates for Children in order to sustain advocacy for children in need, contact the CASA office at (509) 925-4871 or [email protected] .

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Contact us: Kittitas County CASA, 421 N. Pearl St. #208, Ellensburg, WA 98926
509.925.4871                 [email protected]