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Lake County volunteers and guests gather at Arboretum Club

BUFFALO GROVE – More than 100 CASA Lake County volunteers and guests gathered last month at the Arboretum Club in Buffalo Grove for an awards ceremony and inspiring address by Juvenile Judge Sarah Lessman.

Lake County Juvenile Court Judge Sarah P. Lessman told more than 100 CASA Lake County volunteers and guests that CASA volunteers advocating for abused children are “significant, special and make a difference

“Your CASA court reports are gold --- and we read them carefully. You fight tirelessly for their best interests and are often the only constant in their lives. Thank you for making the world a better place for these children,” Lessman said.

Judge Lessman was talking about the more than 3,000 abused and neglected children CASA volunteers have advocated for since the Vernon Hills nonprofit organization was incorporated 20 years ago.

At this year’s festivities, there were 41 Marathon Awards announced recognizing advocates who have been on their cases for five years or more and eight Outstanding Service Awards.

The Outstanding Service Award recipients included: Cathy Blythe and Mary Ellen Palubicki, both from Libertyville, Mary Weber, Linda Piepenbrink, Tuly Faden and Jeanette White, all from Grayslake, Alyce Adesko, Fox Lake and Judi Lindgren, Lake Forest.

Terri Zenner Greenberg, CASA executive director, said the 297 advocates provide “information (about the children) that the judge cannot get anywhere else – especially when the over-burdened social workers change cases so often. She said last year nearly 600 volunteers advocated for these vulnerable children.”

In printed remarks, Greenberg stated the advocates “ensure that the children are not forgotten…they visit foster homes, group homes, shelters and detention facilities to see the at-risk children assigned to them.

“They also visit high schools, grammar schools, doctors’ offices, agency offices, hospitals, daycare facilities and preschools to ensure that the court always has a complete picture of their lives. They spend many hours collecting their notes, making calls and writing detailed court reports.

“The children are afraid, angry and alone -- and they count on their CASAs to be there for them,” added Greenberg. CASA advocates go through 40 hours of training at CASA before being sworn in as representatives of the court.

For information, call CASA at 847/383-6260, ext. 217 or visit

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