CASA of Northeast Tennessee looks to grow in Carter County

Published 1:59 pm Saturday, April 7, 2018

Residents coming through downtown Elizabethton will notice a little bit of decorative flair inside flower beds in front of various stores.

It may seem simple to some. A blue-gray pinwheel fluttering in the wind. While it may be an eye-catching piece of art, the meaning of the symbol has a region-wide effect for one civic organization.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Northeast Tennessee is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that recruits, screens, trains and supports area children who make their way in the court system following cases of abuse and neglect. The organization is utilizing the #PasthePinewheel movement to help raise awareness for their cause. Having the pinwheel donned across the region coincides with April being recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

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“The pinwheel used to represent a child that was not helped,” said Thomas Davis, CASA of Northeast Tennessee board member. “A child that we weren’t able to do anything for, whether they were abused or neglected. Now, they are a symbol for a child we’ve been able to help through the growth of the organization. These are symbols for children that are happy and healthy with the support of CASA volunteers.”

Serving with the organization for roughly three years, Davis handles the duties of placing the pinwheels downtown to help raise awareness for CASA.

“We put these pinwheels out to remind the community that this work is still going on,” he said. “CASA specifically uses the pinwheel because our goal is to take them from abuse and neglect situations to better situations. We’ve adopted the symbol because we’re one of the groups that are making an impact.”

CASA advocates are used to investigate a child’s circumstance and help make recommendations to a judge to find out what works best for the youth.

While the reach is wide, the goal is to see CASA expand into Carter County and Elizabethton.

“CASA exists in every county around us,” he said. “In Carter County, that need is a little more prevalent because of certain situations. These situations cause a child to have a harder time.”

Having resources available, like the recently created Isaiah House 117, Davis believes the time is now to expand CASA’s reach into the community.

“We believe the need is there,” he said. “If you have the resources to address the need, it makes sense. We have so many different organizations and partners in the community that can make an impact in these children’s lives.”

Individuals looking to get involved can contact Davis at his Edward Jones’ office in Elizabethton. Information can also be obtained by emailing or visiting the organization’s website.