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Volunteers Serving Northshore Children Honored at Abita Town Hall

Youth Service Bureau
430 N. New Hampshire St.
Covington LA 70433
(985) 893-2570

 Covington LA— Local volunteers are changing children’s stories, and that calls for a celebration.
               Ordinary citizens who generously give their time to Northshore children who have been abused or neglected were recently honored by the Youth Service Bureau.  Volunteers and local child welfare professionals gathered at Abita Springs Town Hall for YSB’s annual Celebration of Volunteer Service.

                Judge Scott Gardner presented a top award on behalf of CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), a YSB program that trains volunteers to be advocates in court for children. Gardner is one of the 22nd Judicial District Court judges who hear cases involving children taken into state custody due to parental abuse and neglect.

                Addressing the volunteers, Gardner said, “Every day you walk in sacred space that values a child more than other things that could take up your time…When I read your report, I know it’s submitted with character, commitment, kindness and self-sacrifice I can bank on.”

                Annette Doskey, a volunteer for YSB CASA in Covington, accepted the 2019 Heart of CASA Award for exemplifying the spirit of CASA volunteers. Doskey has advocated for numerous foster children over the last 10 years. With her natural enthusiasm and personality, she has also helped to recruit other volunteers.

                YSB CASA volunteers receiving Outstanding Service To Children Awards were Liz Edwards and Mary Haile serving the Covington court; Maria Hall, Mary Christopher, David Munroe and Adrienne Hebert serving the Slidell court; Milton Hanauer Jr. and Diana Norton serving the Bogalusa court; and Lorraine Bornio and Anita Lagasse-Clark serving the Franklinton court.

                Another of the evening’s highlights was guest speaker Michael Williamson, president and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Louisiana. Williamson praised YSB volunteers for their role in supporting United Way’s Blueprint for Prosperity initiative.  Mandeville attorney Kelly Brian, Chair of YSB’s Board of Directors, and Mary Slazer, YSB President/CEO, also thanked the volunteers for their work on behalf of children.  Eleanor Miller, a CASA volunteer serving in Covington, spoke about her own childhood in foster care and how it motivates her to help others.

                YSB FINS (Families in Need of Services) program recognized an outstanding volunteer.  Atari Warren of Franklinton was honored for his extraordinary commitment to mentoring a teen at risk of dropping out of school.

                In addition to those who mentor and advocate for children, YSB is supported by dedicated volunteers who help produce YSB’s annual fundraising events, especially the Chef Soirée and Breakfast with Santa.  Many have helped with Chef Soirée for 15 or even 20 years, making it the Northshore’s premiere fundraising event (held the 3rd Sunday in March at the Covington Trailhead.)  YSB extended special thanks to Bobbie and Frank Calandro, Tom Nowak, Heather and Mike Oster, Fran Liberto, Tim Fandal, Sheila Pittman, Jeff and Kathy Macdowell, and Ann Lloyd.

                YSB CASA needs more St. Tammany and Washington Parish volunteers to “Change a Child’s Story.” The next CASA volunteer training session begins March 5. The class will meet at YSB of Slidell every Thursday night for five weeks with an additional 2 to 4 hours of self-paced, online training each week. There is no charge for the training.  Participants must first apply at  The application is not a commitment to be a CASA volunteer - it's just the first step in learning more about the program.

                More information about YSB and the upcoming Chef Soiree is available at