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New CASA

Photo submitted to Times Observer The new Executive Director of CASA of Warren and Forest counties, Melissa Sproveri, is sworn in Jan. 27 by the Honorable Judge Maureen Skerda.

At least nine out of 1,000 U.S. children are abused or neglected in some way.

Organizations like CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) are founded to give these children a voice. For some children, it’s a lifeline.

Melissa Sproveri has been inspired by impacting kids’ lives, and will get that opportunity as the new CASA executive director. She was sworn in by President Judge Maureen Skerda Jan. 27.

Sproveri, from Youngsville, has been working with children since 2006 as Community Health Educator for Adagio Health in Warren. Her position with Adagio consisted of traveling to schools, visiting after-school programs, juvenile probation and residential facilities, and working across eight counties providing evidence-based programs.

She then moved on to work for the Warren County School District in the Special Education Department as a paraprofessional — continuing to provide evidence-based programming with the 21st Century program at WAEC and Youngsville Middle/High School as a Social Emotional Learning Counselor.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of seeing the small victories in my students,” said Sproveri. “Right now, getting my feet under me is my biggest priority. I have huge shoes to fill.”

She will be taking over for former director Lisa Thompson who has resigned from her position, but continues her work as a volunteer for the organization.

Sproveri said that, looking ahead, she would like CASA to have a larger presence in Forest County and eventually expand into other areas, if applicable.

Knowing she will be able to continue to help kids in our area will be pretty amazing, she said.

She will soon be working on CASA’s annual Senior Basketball Classic. The annual CASA Senior Basketball Classic brings together the community and celebrates the local youth. The idea behind the game itself is to showcase the local seniors’ talent in a fun, laid-back game. The score doesn’t matter here, as they are just looking for the players to have a good time and enjoy an even better crowd.

The classic is the one time that the community can come together and celebrate the local graduates in an entertaining way. The event also supports children who do not have the same privileges that many of us take for granted. The final details for the game have yet to be announced, but is projected to be held in March.

Sproveri said she will also soon be ready to recruit new volunteers. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are community volunteers who help speak and stand up for abused and neglected children. The organization works to find a loving and safe home for every child.

Today there are more than 50,000 advocates serving more than 940 state and local program offices nationwide. Since the inception of the CASA advocacy, volunteers have been able to help over 1,000,000 children across the U.S. find safe and permanent homes where they can thrive.

To find more information on CASA of Warren and Forest Counties and to find out ways to help the children in our area, visit www.casaofwarrenandforest.org.

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