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Region advocate named 'Volunteer of Year' for outstanding service to child

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PORTER COUNTY — A Northwest Indiana volunteer was recognized at a statewide level for advocating for a child who otherwise would have likely "suffered greater abuse and neglect," if not for her intervention.

A local program director said it was the first time an individual from Porter County has been honored as "Volunteer of the Year."

Lisa Stressler, Porter County Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer, has been named "Volunteer of the Year" by the Indiana State CASA office.

Join Cpl. Jerry Patrick, as he patrols the hallways of Lake Central and Kahler Middle School.

Each year, CASA programs throughout Indiana nominate volunteers who show dedication and persistence in representing a child's interests in court and advocating their needs.

Indiana has 4,292 active volunteers and CASA programs in 88 of its 92 counties. Each program nominates someone for the honor. 

Sarah Fink, Porter County CASA director, said this marked the first time a volunteer from Porter County has been honored as Volunteer of the Year.

"Lisa has provided thorough, professional, and compassionate work and care in her role as a child advocate for over 20 children during the past four years," said Fink. "With laser focus on what is right for the children she serves, Lisa has dependably and responsibly provided the most heartfelt and effective advocacy."

The organization said Stressler, of Valparaiso, went the “extra mile” for a child who has severe physical and cognitive limitations, and who otherwise may have suffered greater abuse and neglect if it were not for her efforts, according to a news release. To protect the child's privacy, details from the case were not shared.

Stressler found additional services for this child, collaborated with the treatment team and regularly visited the child.

"Effectively sending the child the message that she matters," Fink said. "All CASA programs work with and are grateful for such amazing volunteers. It’s difficult to imagine anyone more deserving of this award."

To learn more about Porter County CASA and how to volunteer, individuals can visit www.portercountycasa.org

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194, anna.ortiz@nwi.com

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