Suzanne Harrison honored for work on behalf of Tennessee children
NASHVILLE, Jan. 13, 2006 — Suzanne Harrison of Nashville will be honored by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division at a dinner on Friday, Jan. 13.
The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) selects a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer each year from among nominations from Tennessee's 15 local CASA agencies. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children and to ensure they do no get lost in the overburdened legal system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home. Volunteers stay with the child's case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
Harrison has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Davidson County for nine years, handling 28 cases and going well beyond the call of duty in helping children find safe and stable environments in which to live and grow. In choosing Harrison as this year's award recipient, the YLD focused on the longevity of her service and the exceptional lengths to which she goes to care for children in her caseload. For example, while representing a child who was placed over 100 miles away from siblings, Harrison personally provided transportation so the child would be able to visit family on a regular basis. Upon discovering that another child had an interest in music, Harrison arranged for guitar lessons at no cost to the family. In a third example of this extraordinary commitment, Harrison worked for reunification of a father and his three young children, and then physically moved them into their new home when the court approved the action.
In addition to zealously advocating for the children assigned to her, Harrison routinely gives her time and resources to train other volunteers and improve the operation of the Davidson county program. Showing remarkable initiative, she attended a national CASA conference and a national "train the trainer" workshop to enhance her own skills and become better equipped to train other volunteers. In addition to her commitment to the mission of CASA, she contributes practically to the operation of the local program. She funded a security system for the Davidson county office and purchased much-needed training materials.
Those who know Harrison describe her as calm, non-judgmental, professional, determined and compassionate – qualities that are essential for any advocate. The fact that Harrison exhibits them all so well, makes her the ideal CASA volunteer.
Harrison was nominated by Jane Andrews, executive director of CASA of Davidson County. In granting this award each year, the YLD seeks to recognize and thank CASA volunteers across the state for their service.