CASA Attends National Conference in Denver
More than 30 Montana people from local and state CASA programs attended National CASA meetings in Denver in late April, joining about 1,400 people from all over the country. Eastern Montana CASA/GAL brought 10 people from their program, including many volunteers who were thrilled to have a meeting close to Montana.
The appearance of Dr. Phil and Robin from the Dr. Phil show was one of the highlights mentioned by almost everyone who attended the event. With the help of the well-known TV stars, more than 21,000 new volunteers were recruited to work with abused and neglected children last year. Dr. Phil even apologized to the group for not getting involved in the cause earlier and promised his full support to the mission.
Kiersta Sullivan, new director of the Front Range Program covering four counties north of Great Falls, reported she saw Dr. Phil up close from a front table. She came back with many new ideas to help the rural program from the New Directors session on Saturday. “The best idea I brought back from Denver was the fundraising idea of CASAS 4 CASA,” Kiersta said. “We are building a playhouse and selling raffle tickets for it. The local lumberyard is selling us the materials for cost and my husband is building the playhouse.”
From left: Malta Prairie CASA/GAL Director Kari Hould, CASA of MT State Board Member Joyce Funda, Great Falls CASA-CAN Executive Director Judy Pylar, CASA of MT Program Services Director Jerie Roberts, and Anaconda volunteer Sharon Scalise at the National CASA Annual Conference in Denver.
National Court Appointed Special Advocates CEO Michael Piraino (bottom row, far right) leads a panel discussion at the National CASA Annual Conference in Denver.
From left: Eastern Montana CASA/GAL Executive Director Cherie LeBlanc, Program Director Jamie Burkhalter, and two Miles City area volunteers at the National CASA Annual Conference in Denver.
"This was one of the most rewarding conferences I have ever attended. Everyone was present for the same reason: to help prevent the abuse and neglectof children, to see that they are placed in a safe and permanent home and to continue to advocate. It wasvery emotional for me. Listening to the panel of former child victims and hearing how the CASA volunteer in their life allowed them to move forwardwasthe best part.Knowing that weARE making a difference in the lives of these children makes me feelblessed to work forthis organization."