Dorchester CASA volunteers sworn into office
CAMBRIDGE — Six of 12 newly trained volunteers in the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program were sworn into service on Thursday, Dec. 8 in Dorchester County Circuit Court.
The newly sworn CASA of the Mid-Shore volunteers are: Jeannette Cassalia, JoAnn Kowalski, Kathleen Miller, Robert Neumer, Joyce Ordun, and William Thomas.
They will serve as advocates for children in Dorchester and Talbot counties.
“Our program strives to ensure that all children under court protection due to maltreatment receive needed services and a safe, permanent home,” said Robin Davenport, executive director of the CASA of the Mid-Shore. “CASA volunteers work passionately to help improve the lives of maltreated children to assist them in growing to their full potential and giving them hope.”
Dorchester County Circuit Court Judge Brett W. Wilson and Magistrate Karen Ketterman presided over the ceremony. The volunteers were sworn by Clerk of the Court Amy Craig.
In her remarks, Ketterman used the analogy of a lighthouse to illustrate the role of a CASA volunteer in the life of a child.
“A lighthouse is consistent and reliable,” Ketterman said. “It’s built on solid ground, to weather storms, and to last for years. A lighthouse brightens the darkness to guide ships. Historically, lighthouses have saved lives just by being there. That’s what I envision, and that’s what I’d like to see for all of you as court appointed special advocates. You’ll be the light in the darkness for a child that might otherwise be lost at sea.”
Wilson praised the CASA volunteers for not only lamenting the suffering they see in the world, but also giving of themselves and their time to enact positive change and lessen that suffering.
“We get to do very few joyous things here in the courthouse,” Wilson said. “What comes to mind as to those things that do bring joy are the swearing in of CASA volunteers and adoptions. The commonality between those two events is children. In each of those situations, we’re making lives better for children.”
He chose a quote from William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, which paired well with Ketterman’s lighthouse illustration.
“Look how far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”
“You folks are throwing your beams out into that naughty world to better the lives of children,” he said.
Individuals interested in learning more about or supporting CASA’s services to Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Kent County children are encouraged to visit the CASA website at www.casamidshore.org or to contact the CASA office at 410-822-2866.
Newly sworn CASA volunteers Jeannette Cassalia, JoAnn Kowalski, Kathleen Miller, Robert Neumer, Joyce Ordun, and William Thomas stand at the bench with Judge Brett W. Wilson and Magistrate Karen Ketterman.