keith loper.jpg

Keith Loper

Change is in the air at CASA of Trinity Valley.

Executive Director Emily Heglund will be leaving CASA at the end of this month to take the executive director position at the TVCC Foundation in Athens. CASA Program Director Keith Loper will take over as executive director of CASA.

“I will always treasure my experience at CASA,” Heglund said. “The work we’ve done and the friends I’ve made will stay with me for many years to come.”

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates; the nonprofit organization recruits, trains and mentors volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children who are removed from their homes of origin and placed in foster care.

In 2019, CASA of Trinity Valley, which covers Anderson, Cherokee and Henderson counties, served 902 children. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization served 800 children.

“We fully expect our numbers to increase as COVID begins to clear up,” Loper said. “We are still in need of volunteers to serve children. All our training can be done online or in person, so we can accommodate folks as needed.”

CASA volunteers independently investigate each case to which they are assigned. They gather information, visit with children and caregivers, then return to court to make informed recommendations to the judges who preside over the children’s cases.

“Our volunteers can act as a judge’s ‘boots on the ground’ and provide context and details they might not get otherwise,” Heglund said. “We also actively contribute to decisions about permanency for these children.”

Heglund said she is grateful for her experiences at CASA and the support of the communities it serves.

“We have the best board members, staff, volunteers, donors, and supporters in the world,” she said. “I will treasure my time here for years to come.”

For more information about CASA or volunteering, visit or find CASA on Facebook.

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