When someone who has been a teacher volunteers for CASA Monroe, they bring with them a wealth of experience working with children who have various problems and issues.
Gretchen Kidd taught language arts in Union, Blount, Knox and Monroe County schools for more than 25 years, and CASA Monroe has chosen her as the September Spotlight of the Month.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. These are trained volunteers who work with Juvenile Court Judge Dwaine Thomas by taking child cases assigned by the judge and looking into the background of each child. The advocates talk to the child’s parents, guardians, teachers and other key people in their lives and write a report for the judge so he can make more informed decisions about the child’s future. The advocates also recommend specific actions for the court to consider in the best interest of the child.
Kidd was born in Sharps Chapel in Union County but raised in Knoxville. After graduating from Central High School, she attended and graduated from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City with a degree in English and secondary education.
She began her career by teaching English at Union County High School. During that time, she married Sam Kidd and three years later, the couple decided to work for Child and Family Tennessee, where they served as residential foster parents for special needs children. It was there that they met their foster son, Nikolas, who they are presently working to adopt.
In 2004, Kidd went back to teaching in Blount County Schools, later moving to Knoxville. During that time, she also earned a Master’s degree in library information science from Trevecca-Nazarene University in Nashville and began working as the library media specialist for Monroe County Schools.
Kidd finished her career in Knox County before retiring in 2014.
“One of the reasons I was attracted to CASA Monroe was because I came from a mixed family,” said Kidd.
She explained that out of six children, her sister and brother were foster children (the brother was adopted). Kidd’s parents also took in her cousin, whose mother was extremely ill. Kidd also considers that child her “sister.”
“I have the unique privilege of being the voice of the child in court with the singular goal of making recommendations that are in the best interest of the child,” Kidd added. “I hope I am able to make a positive difference in the lives of the children I am assigned. They are certainly making one in mine.”
When she’s not engaged in family activities with her son, nine nieces and nephews and siblings, Kidd is an avid reader of mysteries.
“My personal philosophy is to do the right thing for the right reason,” she concluded. “CASA Monroe embodies that sentiment.”
Interested in volunteering for CASA Monroe? Call the office at 423-442-2750 or visit the website at www.casamonroe.org. Fall training classes begin Sept. 24.