CASA Day in Ohio Celebrates Volunteers

By all accounts, the first regional celebration of CASA Day in Ohio was a big success.

The April 20 event was co-hosted by Ohio CASA/GAL Association and Montgomery County Juvenile Court CASA. Program Manager Jane Novick and the Montgomery County Juvenile Court CASA staff did a stellar job organizing the 3-hour function.

Volunteers and program staff from Butler, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Ross counties gathered at the Old Court House in Dayton beginning at 11 a.m. Judges, magistrates, court staff and members of the public also attended.

The formal ceremony kicked off at noon with local on-air personality Faith Daniels as emcee. Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Nick Kuntz began with a brief history of the local CASA program. Representative Fred Strahorn followed and presented a House resolution to Doug Stephens, executive director of Ohio CASA. Other speakers included Doug Page, volunteer with CASA/GAL of Miami County and 2017 Rising Star Volunteer of the Year; Helen Thompson of the Rylee Sellars Foundation; and Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, who presented a Board of Commissioners resolution to Novick.

Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge  Anthony Capizzi, a former attorney guardian ad litem, closed the program with generous praise of CASA. He stressed the need for a CASA program in every Ohio county and urged those of his colleagues who do not already work with a program to consider establishing one. Capizzi, who is president of the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges and a trustee ex officio for the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, was greeted at the ceremony by a woman for whom he had once advocated.

The event marked the first time the CASA Day in Ohio Celebration was held outside of central Ohio. Plans for a regional celebration in 2019 are under way.

“We are excited about the possibilities,” Stephens, said. “Obviously, more volunteers were able to attend the regional ceremony, and the local officials were really enthusiastic about it.”

“We look forward to working with our member programs on future events,” he said.