Judy Barnett was an instrumental force behind the creation of our local CASA program.
In 1987, Judy and members of the Junior League of Colorado Springs studied the issue of child abuse in El Paso and Teller counties and became concerned that child victims did not have adequate representation and advocacy. Judy lead the research committee to find an effective response to the growing problem of abuse & neglect. The Court Appointed Special Advocates model, originally developed in Seattle, Washington, was selected as the best approach and our local CASA chapter was launched in 1989.
The Junior League formed the first Board of Directors, co-chaired by Judy and Donna Delolio. The Junior League provided $12,000 start up funding, and a $12,000 match was granted by the El Pomar Foundation. The first employee, Trudy Strewler, was hired as a part-time volunteer manager, and CASA was off and running.
The CASA office consisted of a single desk in a 10′ x 10′ rented room located at 19 N. Tejon. Judy remembers trips to Sam’s Club for paper and office supplies.
The inaugural group of 21 volunteer advocates graduated with in the first year of operation. Nearly half were members of the Junior League, the other half recruited from the community.
CASA extends our deepest gratitude to Judy Barnett and the Junior League of Colorado Springs for their investment, leadership and energy in service of local children. Now, 25 years after CASA’s humble beginnings, thousands volunteers have provided effective and compassionate advocacy to over 10,000 children in the Pikes Peak region.