In order to be honored with this award, the volunteer must be an exceptional CASA volunteer and be a member of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association.
Several years ago Indiana changed their laws and now require a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) to be appointed to every abuse/neglect case (these are called Child in Need of Services, or CHINS, cases). Every case in Indiana must either have a CASA volunteer or a Guardian ad Litem. In our county, a Guardian ad Litem is an attorney and is assigned to every CHINS case. Whenever possible, a CASA volunteer is also assigned to advocate for the child through the court system. As a result, there was a waiting list for children to receive volunteers and public awareness about CASA became a strong need. In 2007, the Indiana State CASA office partnered with the Indiana Retired Teachers Association to increase public awareness of both organizations. This also allowed CASA to send the State CASA Director, Leslie Dunn, to various IRTA functions to promote volunteerism and provide information to retired teachers about becoming a CASA volunteer. Due to their specific skill set and experience working with children, retired teachers make excellent CASA volunteers.
Haley Kittrell, Executive Director, CASA of Marshall County said, “We are very fortunate to have one of our own CASA volunteers, Melody Kruger, be the recipient of this esteemed award.” She also said every year, IRTA and CASA present an award to a very special CASA volunteer who has shown excellence both in their time volunteering and as a member of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association.
Melody Kruger became a CASA volunteer in 2001, and was the CASA director from 2006-2013. Melody has advocated for over 25 children since she became a volunteer. Prior to taking the CASA Director position, Melody was a teacher in the Eastern Pulaski schools from 1971-1990. She was an elementary school principal for the Plymouth Schools from August 1990 until she became the director of CASA. Melody has retired from her Director’s position, but still is a very active advocate, taking multiple cases at a time.
CASA of Marshall County is in need of volunteers and the only qualifications are that you must pass a criminal and CPS background check, complete 33 hours of training (the next training will begin at the end of September) and be at least 21 years old. For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer contact Haley Kittrell Executive Director at 935-8726 or stop by the office at 211 west Madison Street. They also have a website at: http://www.marshallcountycasa.org/
Melody with Indiana Supreme Court Justice Rush
Melody with the State CASA Director, Leslie Dunn.