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CASA OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY CELEBRATES “30 years of changing a child’s story”

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Kosciusko County is excited to announce the 30th year of changing the story for abused and neglected children in Kosciusko County through advocacy. The local CASA program was first established in 1990 when Judge Robert Burner sought help from the local Altrusa Club to get the program started. In 1992, after 2 years of laying groundwork, eighteen individuals graduated the training and became the first volunteer advocates. In the past 30 years, the number of volunteers, board members, and staff have grown and shaped the organization into what it is today.

CASA has been under the leadership of 5 executive directors. Chuck and Anne Dorgan worked tirelessly to build community support and get the organization established in our community. In 1995, under their management, the organization received non-profit status as a 501(c)3 and officially became CASA of Kosciusko County Inc. The Dorgan’s handed over the reins to Sally Mahnken in 1998. In Sally Mahnken’s 14 years of guidance, she continued to deepen the relationships with court and community, seeing growth in the number of volunteers and the number of children served. In 2012, CASA’s 4th executive director, Mackenzie Cloutier, began working to expand the program further and raise community awareness. CASA added staff positions to accommodate growth and offer more support to the many volunteers. With Mackenzie’s leadership, CASA’s Annual Holiday Festival also grew exponentially in both fundraising and the community’s support of CASA’s mission. CASA’s 5th and current Executive Director, Erin Rowland Jones, began in 2020 and she is eager to continue CASA’s growth. 

To celebrate this milestone, CASA looks forward to a year of reflection mixed with continued dreaming. CASA will start the year by featuring their 30th anniversary in their Annual Meeting on January 21, where CASA will announce big plans for June 2022. CASA will continue to highlight the 30-year anniversary throughout the year, including at the Annual Holiday Festival.

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