Carrie Fleig said she wanted to become involved with Capital City CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, because many people in the community don't realize the situations children sometimes encounter.
Fleig is one of 10 volunteers who graduated from CASA's 10-week training program Monday evening.
CASA's purpose is to recruit and train volunteers to advocate for children who end up in the court system, due to issues such as abuse and neglect.
Judge Jon Beetem swore in the 10 new volunteers Monday, increasing the program's ranks to 32. The previous 22 volunteers were able to advocate for 58 abused or neglected children.
"These 32 will be able to help 70-80 children," said James
Kellerman, CASA executive director. "The 40-hour program teaches them to work with (children) through the court system and to work with all the various agencies for the children."
New volunteers include Fleig, Kristin Coret, Kathleen Dake, Sarah Lauf, Mike Lester, Donna Puckett, Kathy Rush, Katherine Schedler, Julie Schweer and Ron Wilson.
Fleig said she and her husband have raised six children and as they have gotten older, she has seen some of their classmates go through hard times.
"It's important to give children in these cases a voice and have a third party to try to communicate their wants, needs and desires," Fleig said. "I had an inner desire to help.
"I feel strongly about this, and believe that any way we can help, we should."
Fleig said she's looking forward to working on her first case.
"I realize each case has it's ebbs and flows," she said. I was on the board for Missouri KidsFirst, but I have not done anything firsthand."
That's what excites her about the CASA program.
"To see a child come out on the winning end and go on to have a productive and successful life," she said.
Kellerman said he expects the next CASA volunteer training to begin in mid-September. To learn more about CASA or working as a volunteer, visit capitalcitycasa.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.