Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Welcomes Country Music Sensation Jimmy Wayne as Keynote Speaker

CHICAGO, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association will host its 30th annual conference, “Building Hope for Youth,” from March 19-22, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Commissioner Mary Ellen Caron, Ph.D., for the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, will provide an official welcome to the attendees. Famous country recording artist and foster care advocate Jimmy Wayne will give the keynote address.

Each year, more than 1,500 CASA staff, board members, volunteers, judges, attorneys and other child welfare professionals from across the country gather to connect with peers and learn from leaders in the field. Conference attendees learn from top-notch faculty leading more than 60 workshops and institutes, attend inspiring general session panels, network with like-minded volunteers and professionals, and take advantage of an exhibit hall filled with useful resources.

“For many abused and neglected children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives,” said Commissioner Caron. “The resources and training offered at this year’s conference will provide the tools necessary to help foster the personal development and provide the much-needed positive influence every young person needs to stay on track.”

The conference aims to strengthen volunteer voices by enabling them to build skills and acquire tools that will enhance their ability to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children. It also helps conference attendees explore practices that enable them to better serve all children in their communities and continue the journey towards cultural competency. Those who attend also develop essential leadership skills and fortify their commitment by engaging with peers and presenters.

“We are thrilled and honored to have both Jimmy Wayne and Commissioner Caron joining CASA for our annual conference in Chicago this year,” said Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association. “We greatly appreciate their tireless efforts to give a voice to and help the children in our foster care system. Their work is an inspiration to all of us.”

As an alum of the foster care system, country music artist Jimmy Wayne gives tirelessly of his time to support older youth in the child welfare system. He spent seven months of 2010 on the road to raise awareness for homeless youth and children in care. Wayne walked more than 1,700 miles from Nashville to Phoenix, talking with supporters, the media and lawmakers along the way. His “Meet Me Halfway” campaign was profiled on television, in newspapers and magazines nationwide, including USA Today, Ladies Home Journal, and People magazine.

PR Newswire

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The National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association

SEATTLE, WA March 18, 2011 – In an effort to raise awareness and recruit volunteers to help America’s abused and neglected children, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association has teamed up with award-winning country music artist Jimmy Wayne, who will serve as a national spokesperson for the organization. Wayne will open the 30th annual National CASA conference in Chicago on March 20. Himself a former foster youth, Wayne will share his personal story and perform before an audience of over 1,500 CASA and Guardian ad litem volunteers, staff and supporters from across the county.

Wayne has given tirelessly of his time to support older youth in the child welfare system. In 2010 he spent seven months walking across America to raise awareness of homeless youth and children in care. During his trek of more than 1,700 miles, from Nashville to Phoenix, Wayne used the opportunity to talk with supporters, the media and lawmakers.

His Meet Me Halfway campaign was profiled on television and in newspapers and magazines nationwide, including USA Today, Ladies Home Journal, and People Magazine. Most recently, Wayne made a powerful plea on behalf of youth in foster care during his appearance on the December 2010 CBS TV Special titled A Home for the Holidays.

“We are incredibly proud to be partnering with Jimmy Wayne and are very appreciative of his willingness to support our national cause for children,” said Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association. “Jimmy’s personal experiences in foster care add immeasurable authenticity to his role as a spokesperson for National CASA. He will be an inspiration to the youths we serve and our national network of volunteers, as well as others who may want to become more involved in helping abused and neglected children.”

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