Christopher Janetzko, formerly a United Way AmeriCorps VISTA, has been named executive director of CASA of Bradley and Polk counties.
He started working initially with CASA – which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates – in 2016 in the AmeriCorps VISTA role. After completing his term as a VISTA, he transitioned into the role of outreach and volunteer manager. Most recently, he has served as the marketing manager for First Things First, a nonprofit in Chattanooga.
“My favorite thing about CASA is that it provides an opportunity for community members to make tangible change in the lives of children,” Janetzko said. “Sadly, it is not uncommon to hear stories of children being abused and neglected. These stories pull at heartstrings, but few know that there are actionable ways to make a difference.”
Everyday citizens can make a change in the lives of children who need a voice in court by becoming volunteer advocates with CASA, he said. Advocates gather information about the child, and make fact-based recommendations to the judge to ensure each child is placed in a safe and loving home.
Janetzko’s first goal for 2019 is to find 10 community members who will make it their New Year’s resolution to sign up for CASA’s first advocate training session in 2019. Each volunteer will participate in a 30-hour training program that will equip them with all the tools and knowledge they need to be a child advocate.
A judge will swear in the volunteers once they complete their training. Those volunteers will then be able to advocate for a child’s best interest in court, Janetzko explained.
"If you are interested in becoming a volunteer advocate and the rewards that come along with serving as the voice of a child, please contact the CASA office at 423-472-5800 or email email@example.com," he stressed.
To learn more about CASA, visit casabp.org.
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