Experience motivates CASA board member

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Cordelia Ball passionate about helping children in need

By Becca Owsley

Cordelia Ball’s passion for helping children through Court Appointed Special Advocates began with a personal experience.

When her brother — one of nine siblings in the family — died in 1987, her family discovered his wife had fallen on hard times and difficult situations affected their three children, she said.

After finding out the children were being left alone and exposed to things they shouldn’t experience at such a young age, the family tried to address the issues with the widow. But when that didn’t work, they reported her to authorities.

“That’s how we got thrown into CASA,” she said.

Ball, 62, first came in contact with a CASA advocate during court proceedings. She had never heard of CASA before, but the judge recommended they use an advocate to mediate between the mother and the rest of the family.

Ball’s family was awarded temporary custody of the children until the mother straightened out her life and was able to regain custody.

CASA workers were helpful and made the childrens’ best interest their priority during the process, Ball said.

Partly because of successful intervention, the children all are on their way to success in life.

The oldest child joined the U.S. Navy and is studying to be a lawyer. He not only still stays in contact with his CASA advocate, but also is a spokesman for CASA of Jefferson County.

The middle child now is a radiologist, and the youngest, who first followed into some of the same addictions as the mother, now is going back to school.

Through the family’s experience, Ball’s sister Barbara became involved with CASA of Jefferson County and, later, when CASA returned to Hardin County, Ball became involved with the organization.

“Cordelia’s family means everything to her and her whole family is involved with CASA,” executive director Sylvia Griendling said. “Her work on the CASA board and her generosity with her time comes straight from her heart because she believes that every child needs the constant support that only a loving family can provide.”

Ball’s involvement began six years ago after her mother died and she recognized she needed to be involved with something in her community.

She has been on the board since 2004 but is not an advocate. Because of her work as a quality control manger at Accumetric, she takes care of most of the paperwork and documentation for the organization. But even with the paperwork, the troubles of the children CASA works with affects Ball.

She can’t separate herself from the struggles the children face, often staying awake at night thinking about them.

“It wears on my heart,” she said. “I know these children need our help and I can’t believe children are abused the way they are.”

She’s a lot like her mother, who always felt she needed to take everyone in and make everything better. Because of that, Ball knew being an advocate would be too much to handle, so she sticks with completing paperwork, a job that needs to be done.

Board member Kelly Emerine said Ball is “a kind and dedicated team player.”

“The CASA board is so lucky to have her because she can always be counted on to be organized and on top of things,” Emerine said. “I’m very lucky to call her a friend.”

Ball recognizes every child needs to be loved, appreciated and should be set up to succeed rather than fail. If children fail at something, they should be encouraged to pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and move on, she said.

“Everything you do is going to make you who you are tomorrow,” she advises.

To Griendling, Ball’s passion in helping children is obvious to those around her.

“Cordelia has a favorite quote by Frederick Douglas that speaks volumes about her and her work with CASA: ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’” she said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.