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CSA Finalist: Tracy Manning

She helps abused and neglected children who've been removed from their homes in Saline County.
"Tracy, we don't get to talk like this very often. I want to personally thank you for all you've done to help me make very, very difficult decisions on the children you've worked with," says Saline County Circuit Court Judge Gary Arnold to Tracy Manning.  

Judge Arnold works closely with Tracy and other court-appointed special advocates on cases involving abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes.

"Our CASA volunteers provide information to the court to help me make decisions in the best interest of children.

Their perception is completely, well not completely, but very much different from most of the other participants," Judge Arnold explains. "The kids who get involved in this system, normally through no fault of their own, they need voices. They need someone to help stand with them because they're scared," Tracy says.

"Compassion, having a driving compassion for the kids, and wanting to help, wanting to give her free time to help," says Kerry Orick of Tracy. Orick is the Executive Director of CASA of Saline County. "Our hope is to serve 100-percent of the children in care right now, and I would love to clone Tracy to serve all those kids.

"Tracy is an excellent example of all of our CASA volunteers, she excels in getting to know the children she's assigned to and really getting to know what it is they want, and how they feel about what's going to happen to them," Judge Arnold says.    

"I'm here to step in that ring of fire with that kid. And I guess I'm dedicated, but, I mean, we build such a great team, especially in Saline County. When I know that I calm a child, when I know that I have given them a direction to go, maybe that they've never seen before, that's satisfying," Tracy says.   

Countless children have been given new leases on life by CASA volunteers and professionals all over America, and there is none more dedicated than Tracy Manning.
 
She is the April finalist for the 2012 Community Service Award to be presented on July 20.
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