For her efforts in assisting children within the Los Angeles County Dependency Court system, Lori Young, a College of the Canyons paralegal professor, has received the 2017 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Child Advocacy Award.
Young was presented with the award during a ceremony at the Antelope Valley CASA Benefit held at the Rancho Vista Golf Club on April 7.
CASA is a national association that provides court-appointed advocates for foster children in the Dependency Court system to serve as mentors and guides.
Young has spearheaded a “Back to School” event for the past 10 years that collects school supplies for CASA kids.
“I never knew that starting something so small could grow so big,” said Young. “With the support from friends, co-workers, court personnel, COC students, and community members, I am honored to receive this award and I share it with all of those who support CASA Kids.”
Young’s involvement with the non-profit organization began after hearing a CASA representative speak at an Antelope Valley Legal Professionals Association meeting.
“My heart was touched when I learned about children being removed from unhealthy homes due to abuse and neglect, sometimes taking nothing with them,” said Young, who later met with the CASA representative to learn more about the program and how to get involved as an advocate.
Young realized that CASA children would feel more compelled to stay and succeed in school if they had back-to-school supplies just like their classmates.
Then a senior paralegal at Thompson | Von Tungeln, APC, Young started collecting school supplies through her networks with law firms and court personnel.
Since 2011, several COC paralegal students have donated back-to-school supplies, participated in internships with the Juvenile Dependency Court, and become CASA volunteers.
For her work with CASA kids, Young has also received congressional recognition from U.S. Rep. Steve Knight, as well as commendations from County of Los Angeles Supervisor Kathryn Barger and City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
“I look forward to continuing the annual event collecting school supplies for those children in need,” said Young.