CASA of Tuscarawas & Harrison Counties swears in first class of volunteers

Judges call this “historic” day as 4 community members complete training, committing to advocate for local children in need

Four community members were officially sworn in Wednesday as Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers, the first class for the CASA program of Tuscarawas & Harrison Counties.

Joined by loved ones and supporters, the volunteers were sworn in at the Tuscarawas County Courthouse by Tuscarawas County Judge Adam Wilgus and Harrison County Judge Matthew Puskarich.

“This is one of the more meaningful volunteer opportunities that I have come across,” said Dave Schaffer, who was sworn in as a CASA volunteer. “I am really looking forward to the singleness of the purpose of the program: to advocate for children. I appreciate Judge Wilgus and Judge Puskarich for taking the initiative to start this in our area.”

The CASA program launched in these communities in 2023.

The volunteers underwent 30 hours of pre-service training on topics like domestic violence and report writing. Volunteers will also observe cases in court, get continued support from CASA of Tuscarawas & Harrison Counties and Ohio CASA, and complete 12 hours of continued training every year.

“It is incredible to be a part of something like this from the beginning of launching the program to now swearing in our first volunteers. It is a great opportunity that I am grateful for,” said Jennifer Schandel, Director of CASA of Tuscarawas & Harrison Counties.

Volunteers will serve local children who experience abuse and neglect. Many are in the foster care system.

“We welcome these volunteers to the Ohio CASA Network. Their dedication is appreciated and makes a positive impact on children in need,” said Ohio CASA Executive Director Doug Stephens. “Partnerships with the court and the community make this work possible. We are grateful and look forward to supporting these volunteers and this program.”

If you are interested in volunteering in Tuscarawas and Harrison Counties, you can learn more here.

There are volunteer opportunities across the state of Ohio.