EATON — On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Preble County Juvenile Court and The Hon. Jenifer K. Overmyer welcomed a new employee, Wendy Aker, to serve as a volunteer coordinator for the Preble County Court Appointed Special Advocate Program — court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children.
Aker joins Mary Warrick, the Director of the Preble County CASA Program, who together comprise one full-time position for the CASA Program.
CASA volunteers are dedicated community members who advocate for children in the Preble County Juvenile Court, because the children have been removed from their parents due to abuse or neglect or otherwise necessitated Children Services’ involvement. As officers of the Court, the volunteers ensure that the children’s needs are recognized and their best interests are considered.
As a CASA volunteer sworn in eight years ago by the Hon. Wilfrid G. Dues, Aker feels her professional and community service experiences will dovetail perfectly with the objective of the CASA Volunteer Coordinator position, assisting volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children whose lives have been brought to the Court’s attention with the hope of making some positive difference in their lives.
Aker has extensive experience with both the Preble County CASA Program and working with and advocating for underserved populations, whether individuals facing physical, mental, social or educational challenges. Ms. Aker recently retired from substitute teaching in Eaton Community Schools after 15 years.
Previously, she served as the Adult Service Director for L&M Products, a division of the Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities for 25 years. Aker also managed a half-way house for delinquent adolescent girls in Middletown and worked as a crisis intervention specialist for Eastway Crisis Center in Dayton.
Aker, a resident of Eaton, is a proud graduate of Eaton High School and Miami University. In addition, she has served on numerous community and social service boards and has been active in Richmond Civic and The Star Theatres, Preble County Historical Society and Preble County Arts Association.
Preble County children are waiting for a CASA volunteer to serve as their voice in Preble County Juvenile Court proceedings and more advocates are needed. The next training session for new volunteers will be held on Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. beginning April 21 and ending May 26. The only prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer are being at least 21 years of age, clearing an extensive background screening and successfully completing necessary hours of training.
Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer and the rewards which accompany being the voice of an abused or neglected child, should contact Wendy Aker at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mary Warrick at email@example.com or by calling 937-456-2885. More information can also be found by visiting www.prebcocasa.org.
The hiring of Aker as volunteer coordinator and a portion of the salary of Warrick’s director position are funded by a grant obtained through the Ohio CASA Association. The Ohio CASA Association is the only statewide organization supporting all local CASA programs in Ohio. The Preble County CASA Program is also a part of the National CASA Association, a network of more than 900 CASA programs serving children in 49 states and Washington D.C.