As a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Kids of East Texas (CASA), Teresa Harris has had the opportunity to advocate for abused or neglected children in the Smith, the Van Zandt, and the Wood County court systems, conducting research, reviewing documents, and interviewing everyone involved. CASA volunteers are the eyes, ears, and sometimes the arms of the court.
“The kids that I have been blessed to advocate for have changed my life, and they know wherever they are that they have a friend who will always be just a call away,” Mrs. Harris said. “Many times, the CASA volunteer is the only person who will stay on the case from start to finish, and the kids realize that you are the only person that has no other motives except to keep them safe and to see them be successful.”
Mrs. Harris also helps CASA with special events to raise funds and awareness, and to recruit CASA volunteers. On Friday, April 15, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crosswalk Conference Center at Green Acres Baptist Church, CASA will host Justice is Served 2011, A Night Under the Big Top. The evening will feature games, a silent auction, raffles, and delicious foods prepared by some of Tyler’s finest restaurateurs.
Outside of her service to CASA, Mrs. Harris volunteers with the East Texas Parkinson’s Association, the American Cancer Society, M.D. Anderson Cancer Survivors Network, and Meals on Wheels.
“I try to uphold the Bible verse Luke 12:48 which says, ‘To whom much is give, much is expected,’ ” Mrs. Harris said. “My family has been so blessed that it’s easy for me to give my time to children who need someone. My parents taught me the importance of volunteering, and it’s always been vital that my children and grandchildren grow up with the opportunity to know the significance of giving back.”
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Mrs. Harris has resided in Tyler for 34 years. She and her husband, Wade, have been married for 30 years and are the parents of Kimberly and Laura and the grandparents of Brooklyn, 8, and Trevor, 7. Mrs. Harris is a graduate of Chapel Hill High School and attended Tyler Junior College and The University of Texas at Tyler. Mr. and Mrs. Harris are members of Sharon Baptist Church.
“Tyler has the characteristic of being a larger town but keeping a special community feel. I appreciate that East Texans are so giving of their time and resources,” Mrs. Harris said.
For more information about Justice is Served 2011, A Night Under the Big Top or about becoming a CASA volunteer, please call 903-597-7725 or visit www.casaforkidsofeasttexas.org.