In 1979, Judge David Soukp, of Washington, saw a need for abused and neglected children to have better personal and meaningful representation in court. The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) movement was born to fulfill this need. To date, there are 933 programs with more than 77,000 CASA volunteers who have advocated for approximately 234,000 abused and neglected children nationwide.
In the late 1980s, a study conducted by the Junior League of Colorado Springs revealed that victims of child abuse in El Paso and Teller Counties did not have sufficient advocacy in the court system. In order to serve that need, El Pomar Foundation and the Junior League provided seed funding, in 1989, to support the development of CASA of the Pikes Peak Region. Trudy Strewler Hodges (no hyphen) was the organization’s first employee, hired to train CASA’s first 21 volunteers, and has been with the organization since inception. This year, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region is celebrating its 25th anniversary, giving reason for the community to appreciate the dedication of countless volunteers that have improved the lives of over 10,000 children. Over the years, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region has expanded its reach to provide a continuum of care for young victims and is seen as a model for other CASA organizations across the country.
In continuing its legacy, CASA looks to the future and has a lofty goal to serve “every child, every day, every year” in the Pikes Peak region by 2020.