ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR
NOMINEE #4: Tonie Sikes
Tonie has been a CASA for almost 3 years, but you would think she has been doing this all her life! She has a special way of seeing needs with the families she serves and does not hesitate to do everything possible to ensure those needs are met! Throughout her time with CASA, Tonie has served a total of 3 families and 3 children. She is currently assigned to 2 cases, each with 1 child, one a teenager and the other an infant.
Even though Tonie’s cases are very different and require differing skill sets for each, Tonie has exceeded our expectations on both. For her teenager, she has been there to talk her through placement changes and medication changes and has been supportive in milestones such as getting her first job, high school graduation, and so much more. On one occasion, there was an issue with credits transferring from a previous school and Tonie was quick to engage with all parties involved to work together to find a solution so the young girl could graduate on time.
Tonie has an exceptional gift of finding ways to love and celebrate the lives of her CASA children. She always makes sure to send holiday and birthday cards, as well as cards for other important moments too. She once wrote a card to celebrate her teenager being drug free for a year, worked to put together a cook book of recipes to help the teen learn to cook, and is now putting together a photo album to celebrate the one year anniversary of her being in what will be her forever home.
Tonie is a great CASA, but what really makes her special is that every day Tonie strives to be a better CASA than the day before. She has continued to soak in as many in-service opportunities as she can, while also reading books and pursuing her own trainings on multiple subjects. She writes great court reports that rarely require corrections, but still has other advocates review over them with her to make sure she isn’t missing any pertinent information. She goes above in beyond in advocacy, submits excellent documentation, and truly strives to be the best CASA she can be.
Beyond all of this, she is always finding ways to support the CASA program, staff, and other volunteers. She has served on committees, helped with the Christmas Parade, did a painting with her CASA child for our Christmas in July fundraiser, and more. We love that she is a frequent visitor to the CASA office; not only for meetings and court but for lunches and community gatherings also.
Tonie has such a sweet and gentle demeanor but this does not deter her from speaking up to ensure the needs of the children she serves are met. She is a fierce advocate, a friend to all, and a role-model for all of us in so many ways! We treasure Tonie for all she does and are grateful to have her as part of our CASA family!