Leaders of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association (IRTA) announced a new partnership recently between IRTA and CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), in which IRTA members will be encouraged to serve as CASA volunteers across the state.
The partnership was introduced at IRTA's annual fall workshop, which took place in South Bend, Delphi/Lafayette, Pendleton and Corydon.
Coleen Hamrick, Executive Director of the Tippecanoe County CASA program, delivered the presentation at IRTA's Delphi/Lafayette workshop. Several members of Clay County Retired Teachers Association attended the presentation, including Odena Harper, Carolyn Ledgerwood, Carolyn Tausig and Pat Wilkinson.
Clay County Retired Teachers Association is the local affiliate for IRTA in Regional Area 4 and will be entering into the partnership with CASA. Those members of CCRTA who are interested would undergo a thorough training and development program that consists of at least 30 hours of training, followed by 12 hours of yearly in-service training.
Volunteers learn about courtroom procedure from the principals in the system -- judges, lawyers, social workers, court personnel and others.
CASA volunteers also learn effective advocacy techniques for children, and are educated about specific topics ranging from seminars on child sexual abuse to discussions on early childhood development and adolescent behavior. After completion of the initial training, volunteers are sworn in as Officers of the Court.
CCRTA members volunteer many hours annually in various programs and capacities for the benefit of the community.
"We have chosen this partnership with CASA as a statewide project for the next two years," IRTA President Gene Wease said.
"The National Retired Teachers Association is looking at Indiana to use our program as a national model. I am excited about the opportunity to help children across Indiana."
Founded in 1950, IRTA is the largest retired educators' organization in Indiana, with nearly 23,000 members.