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Anna Galbreath was a little reluctant when she walked into Garfield County Child Advocacy Center's Yellow House on Wednesday during a meeting of the Child Advocacy Council.
After a speech by Garfield County Child Advocacy Center Director Carole Wade outlining Galbreath's achievements and work with the CASA program, Galbreath was named 2017's CASA of the Year.
Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASAs, are the voices for children involved in cases of abuse or neglect. They interact with the court and judges to ensure choices are made in the best interests of the children involved in such cases.
Galbreath was sworn in as a CASA on March 13, 2007. In her time volunteering, she had advocated for five children, with her longest case lasting three years.
"We value you tremendously and we thank you for what you’ve done for us in those 12 years," Wade told Galbreath. "Thank you so much for what you’ve done, and this is really just a small award for what you do."
Board members were given a bio about Galbreath during the meeting. Part of it included a quote from a staff member who interviewed Galbreath and had this to say: "Anna gives the overall impression of a compassionate person whose heart is in the right place."
"That has proven to be very accurate," Wade said. "Wrapped up in that compassion is a quiet strength that is pretty tough. Anna is intelligent and thinks things through. She spent 28 years as a classroom teacher, so her understanding of and experience with children and their parents is invaluable to this volunteer position.
"Anna, by respecting the responsibility of this important volunteer position and for taking it very seriously, you have helped to make the CASA program successful, but even more important, you've helped to make the lives of several children safe."
Galbreath said she taught at Taft Elementary School for 25 years and taught another three at the alternative school. After retirement, she learned of the CASA program and attended a function where the purpose of the program was fully explained.
"I told my husband my whole adult life I advocated for kids through my teaching and as parent," she said. "I imagine so many children find themselves in situations where they have no voice. If I can be a voice for them, I will be that voice."
Galbreath said she would recommend being a CASA because she enjoys the challenge it offers.
"It’s a lot of investigating, and lot of interviewing, but I enjoy that part of it a lot. And, of course, I love being with the kids," she said.
Galbreath said anyone with questions about what CASAs do should come down to the Garfield County Care Campus, 1002 E. Broadway, to get more information.
"The training is excellent," she said. "I keep learning the longer I keep doing it."
Adults 21 years old or older who have a desire and the time to help abused or neglected children can call the CASA office at (580) 242-1153 or (877) 242-1153 for an application.
Following an interview and a background investigation, volunteers will be trained in family dynamics, needs of children, cultural issues, juvenile law, interview skills and court procedures, and other topics.
A new training class for CASAs in Garfield and Blaine counties begins the last week of May.
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Source : http://www.enidnews.com/oklahoma/news/anna-galbreath-named-casa-of-the-year/article_03ddeb7f-51c8-5d3e-99dd-4826afadda1c.html