It is with great pleasure that we honor tenured advocate Judy Blissard with the 2022 James A. Gwinn Volunteer of the Year Award.
Judy has been a dedicated advocate for eleven years and has served twenty-one children during that time. As an advocate, Judy has great initiative and independence, but she also is a great collaborator with the team and everyone involved in the case.
Judy’s dedication and faithfulness to the children she serves is inspirational. She is currently working on two cases, one of which she has been working on for five years with a young man named Trey.* Judy has been a constant in Trey’s life, and no matter what he does or how he acts—she is there for him. Trey has exhibited aggressive and assaultive behavior at school and at his placements that have resulted in charges and time being spent in the Juvenile Detention Center. Despite this, Judy has continued to consistently visit with him. Due to his behaviors, many placements will turn in discharge notices and even relative placements will break down, but Judy remains a constant in his life. When others walk away, she stays.
She has been instrumental in advocating for the educational services he needs and finding relatives and placement options, which has proven difficult because of behavioral issues. Judy has shown resilience and perseverance with his behavioral issues, which seem to present in new ways daily. Nevertheless, she assesses each situation and brainstorms new ways to resolve them.
In addition to her casework, Judy has been an active ambassador of Child Advocates. She has helped plan and organize grad school presentations, served in our mentor program and regularly attended children’s events like our Holiday Party and Childspree.
The Child Advocates staff loves working with Judy and is so grateful for her years of service as an advocate.
*The name has been changed to protect the confidentiality and safety of the open case involving a minor.