Cook, the owner of Cook’s Comfort Systems in Oak Ridge, recently presented a $7,500 donation to CASA of the Tennessee Heartland, a non-pro t that recruits, trains and supports volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in juvenile court.
“Any organization that helps kids is always near and dear to my heart,” said Cook, the father of six children and a coach for youth club and school sports for 12 years.
“We are incredibly grateful to our volunteer Jawrell Cook for his passion, generosity and love for the many voiceless kids in foster care who desperately need a CASA volunteer in their corner,” said Kesha Waters, CASA of the Tennessee Heartland executive director. “Through the generosity of Cook’s Comfort Systems, we will recruit, train and supervise 14 new volunteers who will serve at least 30 children in Anderson County who are currently waiting for a CASA volunteer.” Waters added that donations from businesses and the community are essential to enable CASA to continue providing services to youth.
“As CASA volunteers, we look after the needs of the child, which sometimes get overlooked amid the legal aspects in juvenile court. We look out for the best interests of the child,” Cook said. A CASA volunteer is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child, after the child has been removed from the home because of abuse or neglect.
After training, CASA assigns a volunteer a case, either a child or a family of children.
Volunteers gather information through court and other records and interviews with the children, family members, and others. They provide written reports at court hearings and recommend services the child might need in such areas as health, education, and mental health.
“Whenever that child is in court, you are there, too,” Cook said. His wife, Michelle, also serves as a CASA volunteer.
Waters said CASA would welcome more volunteers. Now, Cook is one of 25 volunteers who are active in Anderson County. CASA serves an average of 85 children
a year here, and about 150 children are on the waiting list for a volunteer, she said. For more information about volunteering, call the CASA of ce at (865) 425-0888 or e-mail ACinfo@casatnh.org. Also, see the web site at www. casatnh.org.
Cook’s Comfort Systems, Inc., at 110 Union Valley Road, Oak Ridge, is a family-owned and operated company specializing in sales and service of residential and commercial heating and air conditioning systems. For more information, call (865) 481-3344 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org