CASA Social raises community awareness

By Brooke Shirley

In 1977 a Seattle juvenile court judge had the idea that he needed help in his courtroom with the cases of numerous children. He was concerned about making decisions for their future while knowing little to no information regarding the details for each neglected and/or abused child’s back story. By 1982, his idea had blossomed into a national organization that was then looking for funding. A short three years later they received the funding they needed from the Federal Government.

The National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, or CASA, held an Awareness Social Aug. 17 at the Event’s Center to try to make the Natchitoches community more aware of the positive affects this program has on the lives of the children it serves. Currently, the staff and volunteers are helping approximately 45 children maintain a stable home so they may prosper in the years to come.

Breelin Johnson is very passionate about the program and said, “You get to learn about these children and you see what they’re going through. They thrive through discipline and they need some structure in their lives. No one is there to support them, so you only want to see them succeed.” He was a paramedic for over 30 years before becoming a CASA volunteer.

James T. Genovese, Louisiana Supreme Court Justice, spoke on the subject of needing more funding to keep the program running. He stated, “We need the public’s support. People don’t know what CASA is. I mean people in this room do, but the public doesn’t know.” As of right now, there are three main sources of funding which are: the Federal Government, private donations, and the Supreme Court itself.

If you have any questions regarding CASA, please contact Jack L. Duty or visit their website at