Jenny Tucker says seeing the effects of the drug epidemic in Marion County on children is what motivated her to step in and help. Quoting Marion Wright Edelman (founder of the Children’s Defense Fund) Jenny says, “‘If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.’ I decided to stand.”

Jenny is the busy owner of a dance studio and has worked with children for over 30 years. With her own children grown, and her granddaughter beginning kindergarten, she decided the time was right to begin a new journey. She says the volunteer role gives her meaning and purpose, recognizing, “These children are our future. They will someday shape the world we live in and it is in our best interest as a community to help ensure that they have all the tools they need to succeed.”

The one-year CASA veteran and her GAL, Nichole Lee, have a great working relationship. While Jenny is out in the field as the eyes and ears for the case, she says Nichole is always there to support her and “has helped me understand ‘how the system works,’ while always being there when the bottom falls out of my case!”

The appreciation is mutual. Nichole says they “have been able to strongly advocate for what is best for the children we are working with and Jenny keeps consistent and constant contact with (everyone involved in the case). She has gone above and beyond the call of a CASA and because of her efforts, dedication and determination, these kids have a voice in this process. They have been given support, guidance, someone they can trust and confide in. Jenny fights for the rights of the kids she serves and maintains her professional demeanor as well. She is a pleasure to work with!”

CA Chief Legal Counsel Carey Haley Wong has been involved with Jenny’s case as well and says, “Jenny has been an amazing volunteer on a very challenging case. She has asked the right questions and helps ensure these kids are protected and safe.”

Jenny’s advocacy is definitely making a difference for her kids. When she first met them they were scared and withdrawn. Now Jenny reports, “they are happy, well-adjusted and secure children. One of my children is receiving straight A’s at school! They are both receiving the therapies they need and are flourishing in their environment. The joy their hugs encompass will be something I will carry with me through my days.”

Jenny says it’s rewarding to be able to reflect back over her day and know that she stood with, and for, her CASA children.

Marion Wright Edelman would be proud.