Cathey, Rayner recognized for CASA volunteer work

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Jenn Cathey/CASA

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Press Release) – Volunteers are the backbone of almost any non-profit organization ad often they don’t get much recognition.

But CASA of Lexington likes to give its volunteers a pat on the back not only for the work they do for the organization but also for the impact they have on children.

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CASA of Lexington’s Volunteers of the Month for August are Jenn Cathey and Cheryl Rayner. Both of them chose to be CASA volunteers because they wanted to make a
difference for kids in their community.

Cathey said she understands the chaos and uncertainty faced by children CASA serves.

“The earliest years of my life were tumultuous, but I was saved from those difficult circumstances through adoption,” she said. “From that day forward, my story was rewritten and it has meant a happier, healthier life for me.

“When I consider the time I invest when I work with children, families, and caregivers through my role as a CASA volunteer, I know it’s a chance to impact lives like mine.”

Cathey has been a volunteer in Fayette County since 2018. Her volunteer Manager Liz Noffsinger said she was instrumental in ensuring an individualized education plan was developed for one of the CASA children she was assigned to, and she has been able to help multiple children obtain stability in loving homes where they can thrive.

“Jenn possesses a strong level of professionalism when in court and communicating with parties to the case,” Liz said. “Her communication skills are excellent.”

Cathey said CASA of Lexington provides a high level of support, training and resources that enable her to do her work for kids.

“I am proud to be working through CASA of Lexington to ensure victims of child abuse and neglect have a happier, healthier life, in a safe, loving home, free from violence and neglect,” she said.

Rayner just became a CASA volunteer this year. She was sworn in by a judge in February

Cheryl Rayner/CASA

and serves children in the Bourbon County family court system.

“As a brand new volunteer, her diligence and attention to detail amazed me,” her Volunteer Manager Beka Schwartz said. “Cheryl needed little to no guidance as she quickly built a relationship with everyone on the case, went above and beyond on scheduling visits and phone interviews, and maintained a very objective mindset.”

Rayner said she struggled for two years over whether to become a CASA advocate, after reading about the number of children in Bourbon and surrounding counties who were being placed in temporary custody due to neglect or abuse.

There have been 299 petitions for abuse and neglect over the past three years in
Bourbon County alone; and more than 4,500 petitions over the same period in CASA of Lexington’s service area.

“Those rising numbers weighed heavily on me,” she said. “One day I was in line at the grocery store and I witnessed a mother choke and scream at her toddler daughter because the child asked for candy.”

Witnessing abusive behavior firsthand hit home for Cheryl.

“That day I decided to become a volunteer.”

Beka said Rayner’s dedication to CASA’s mission of ensuring abused and neglected children have safe, permanent homes, was evident immediately in her work.

“I assigned her a second case and her excellent work didn’t waver,” she said. “Cheryl truly puts her heart and soul into CASA and exemplifies what it means to be dedicated to our kids and community.”

CASA of Lexington’s trained and supervised volunteers advocate through the family court systems in Fayette, Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties to ensure all victims of child abuse and neglect are safe and thrive in a permanent home.

Learn more at casaoflexington.org, by calling (859) 246-4313 or by emailing bkleppinger@casaoflexington.org.