LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2018) — Melynda Jamison, executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lexington, has been named the Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year. There are currently 891 local CASA programs around the country, making this a highly competitive honor.
At the upcoming National CASA Conference in Boston, Mass., Jamison will receive the award and have the opportunity to speak to the attendees from programs around the country. The criteria for the award included: outstanding leadership and efforts resulting in growth of the program and enhanced quality of the program’s advocacy and significant action on behalf of the director to expand the local CASA program.
“Being selected as the Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year out of all the wonderful programs and directors in the nation is truly humbling and an honor not only for myself, our board, our staff, and our volunteers, but also our state,” said Jamison.
Over the past four years CASA of Lexington has seen significant growth in children served, revenue, and active CASA volunteers. Jamison took helm of a program that had 71 active CASA volunteers serving 171 children in 2013. In 2017 CASA of Lexington had 185 active CASA volunteers serving 529 children. The staff of CASA of Lexington have grown from three employees to 13. The growth in staff has allowed for additional CASA volunteers, which results in additional abused and neglected children having the benefit of a CASA advocate. Amidst the substantial growth, CASA of Lexington has continued to provide quality services.
“To fully appreciate the breadth and depth of Melynda’s contribution to CASA of Lexington, one must understand that our program was literally foundering just a few short years ago,” said Bryanna Carroll, board chair of CASA of Lexington. “It has not been an easy road. Melynda has been inexhaustible since she joined the staff. She is an energetic and selfless team player who has worked tirelessly to turn our program around and put it on an upward trajectory for success. Her leadership and bold thinking have helped transform each and every aspect of CASA of Lexington.”
“Melynda is a valued and respected partner and colleague to the entire Kentucky CASA Network and is most deserving of this prestigious award,” said Andrea Bruns, state director of the Kentucky CASA Network. “She has led CASA of Lexington through transformative growth. Melynda possesses the characteristics of a true leader, demonstrates a keen intellect and has a genuine heart and passion for the mission of CASA. We are so proud that a local CASA program in Kentucky is receiving this National award.”
Although Kentucky is one of the highest states for child abuse, CASA of Lexington is trying to change that statistic. CASA uses trained community volunteers to represent child abuse and neglect victims within the family court system.
Child abuse is a real issue for the state of Kentucky and the cities of Lexington and Paris. Last year CASA of Lexington served 496 children in Fayette County and 33 children in Bourbon County. However, there were 1,182 children CASA of Lexington could not serve due to lack of staff and volunteers. Local CASA programs rely heavily on donations and funds raised from events to run their programs. Currently only 46 of Kentucky’s 120 counties are served.
Children with a CASA volunteer in Kentucky spend 5 fewer months in foster care, experience fewer out of home placements, and have significantly improved educational performance. This not only helps children recover faster, it also results in savings to the state because of the reduced time spent in foster care.
If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer with CASA of Lexington, please contact the office at (859) 246-4313. To make a donation or learn more about CASA of Lexington visit the website at www.lexingtoncasa.com.