Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
Original article published in The Greeneville Sun on April 12th, 2018 https://www.greenevillesun.com/news/local_news/pinwheels-at-courthouse-bring-awareness-to-child-abuse/article_d64df142-5d58-5de5-b612-b1a1b1c86cc3.html
A garden of pinwheels has been placed on the lawn of the Greene County Courthouse as a reminder of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The pinwheels were placed on the lawn on Tuesday by representatives of CASA of Northeast Tennessee.
CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that recruits, screens, trains and supports community volunteers to advocate for children who are in the court system as a result of abuse or neglect.
Whitney McLaughlin, executive Director for CASA of Northeast Tennessee, noted in a news release that, “the pinwheel has become a symbol of child abuse prevention throughout our nation. Pinwheels represent a happy, carefree childhood that every child deserves.”
During the month of April, CASA of Northeast Tennessee is partnering with Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee to create pinwheel gardens across the Northeast Tennessee community, McLaughlin said.
“Pinwheels for Prevention is a campaign that reminds the community of the important role service providers, such as CASA of Northeast Tennessee, play in children’s lives, and when we all come together beautiful change is possible,” she said. “Each pinwheel is associated with a positive message that CASA has helped change the lives for the better of the abused and neglected children in our county through our CASA program and volunteers.”
CASA volunteers serve as advocates for children by “investigating the child’s unique circumstances and making recommendations to the judge as to what is in the best interest of the child, with their primary goal being to see that the child is in a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible,” McLaughlin said.
Currently serving the Juvenile Courts of Washington, Unicoi and Greene counties and the Juvenile Court of Johnson City, CASA volunteers become the voice in court for abused and neglected children. Last year CASA advocated for 329 youth across Northeast Tennessee, she noted.
CASA of Northeast Tennessee is currently searching for individuals interested in becoming volunteer advocates.
No prior experience is expected or necessary to become a volunteer. All the tools one needs to be a successful advocate will be provided through the CASA volunteer training program.
Those interested in becoming a volunteer should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-461-3500.
More information on CASA of Northeast Tennessee and Pinwheels for Prevention is available by emailing McLaughlin or visiting the CASA website at www.casanetn.org