The loss of innocence is a regular crime on the docket of Courtroom 2 D in Jefferson County.
Here in Magistrate Gail Meinsters family court, CASA volunteer Tom Ashe works to make a difference in the court system for abused kids.
Ashe has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer in Jefferson and Gilpin counties for more than two years. He works several hours a month to advocate in court for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected kids.
It is hard to believe that adults would knowingly inflict that kind of emotional pain and physical pain on a youth, but it happens, Ashe said. Im glad Im able to do something about it.
Court officials say Ashes involvement creates a crucial link between the kids and the court.
That child often trusts the CASA more than anyone, Magistrate Meinster said. CASA then in turn gives me the information that no one else can.
In 2009 alone, Court Appointed Special Advocates helped in almost 200 child abuse cases in Jefferson and Gilpin counties. CASA Executive Director Leah Varnell says volunteers like Ashe have the ability to reach these kids when others cannot.
The most important part the CASA volunteer plays is the relationship they have with the child, Varnell said.
Ashe says that relationship is often built outside the courtroom where he gives his personal time to helping his CASA kid.
Just giving them time. Thats probably what somebody had never given him. Personal time with an adult. That he is important and what he wants to do is important, Ashe said.
If you know of an outstanding volunteer in your community, you can nominate them for a 9Who Care Award on the Community page on 9NEWS.com.
Click here for more information on CASA and how you can become a volunteer.
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