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CASA Luncheon

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 12:00 pm


A CASA Luncheon was held on Thursday, April 18 at noon at the Lewisburg Recreation Center. Attendees had the chance to donate at the end of the luncheon to help fund CASA’s initiatives. Approximately 200 people filled the large meeting room. Gail Cook, Marshall County Junior’s House Board President, welcomed everyone and introduced CASA Volunteer Christopher Hendon. Hendon, a 25-year FBI Special Agent, became a CASA Volunteer a little more than a year ago.

Hendon said he became a volunteer because “if not me, then who?” He went on to say, “I was teaching a hostage negotiation class to 30 officers last week and I said, ‘you’ve heard the saying you’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason.’ but it’s so easy for us to do the exact opposite. It’s all about listening and trying to establish trust with that child because they’re not going to be honest with you if they don’t trust you.”

Junior’s House Founder/Fayetteville Sheriff Joyce McConnell shares Junior’s tragic story

Junior’s House Founder Joyce McConnell was the main speaker for the event. She is currently the Lincoln County Sheriff but she was there to tell about the story of Junior. McConnell encountered Junior 20 years ago when she was a Detective with the County. It was a call unlike any other she said. One man on scene could not process the scene because he had a boy about Junior’s age. McConnell jumped into action and was awake for more than 24 hours. The trauma was long-lasting but eventually, she came up with a way to deal with it. She knew that police stations, hospitals, and in-home visits were intimidating for children who suffered abuse. Junior’s House, Inc. was the solution.

About CASA:  Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Volunteers with Junior’s House are trained citizens who are appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interests of an abused or neglected child in court. One might say that CASA volunteers are nothing short of everyday heroes.

A CASA Volunteer completes a minimum of 30 hours of initial training, carries only one case at a time, and spends an average of 10-15 hours a month on their case. Each CASA Volunteer initially works in a pair and does not make family visits alone until they are comfortable. As part of the training, volunteers also observe a court proceeding or a foster care review board meeting. Each CASA Volunteer completes a minimum of 12 hours of in-service training each year following the first year of service.

large crowd of nearly 200 gathered for CASA luncheon

About Junior’s House, Inc.:  McConnell was called out to a horrific scene in July 1996. When she arrived, she found the lifeless body of six-year-old Junior, discarded on the hood of a car covered in blood, urine, feces, and flies. He had died in his sleep after a beating by his father. Junior walked in front of his father too many times while he was playing a video game. He never had the chance to grow up and experience life. McConnell envisioned having a place where children could go and have all the things Junior never had – a safe place where they could disclose their abuse, a place to start healing.

Junior’s House and CASA:  The mission of Junior’s House is to provide services for child abuse victims and their families in a centralized, child-friendly location and provide child abuse awareness and prevention programs. Junior’s House also trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children to help ensure a swift and sensitive journey through the court system. CASA believes that every child needs and deserves a safe, permanent, loving home.

Becoming a CASA Volunteer allows you to positively affect the trajectory of the lives of the children that Junior’s House serves. Being a volunteer can have lifelong positive effects on the children in your community.

According to Kids Count 2020, there were 67,158 reported cases of child abuse and neglect in Tennessee. An average of four children die every day because of child abuse or neglect. One in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18. To learn more, email or call 931-438-3233 or go to To report suspected child abuse call 1-877-237-0004. Monetary donations can be made at their website or you may mail them to 704 W. Maple St. Fayetteville, TN 37334.