Kelli Todd, the executive director of Volunteers for Youth Justice in Caddo Parish, has been honored as Louisiana CASA Director of the Year by the Association for Louisiana’s Court Appointed Special Advocates. She was presented the award at an event in Baton Rouge today, Thursday, April 21, 2016.
“On behalf of the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office, I congratulate Kelli Todd for this well-deserved recognition of her vision and tireless work to save and improve the lives of the youth of this community,” Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. said. “She serves not only as a prudent administrator, but also on the front line of child abuse as a foster parent. We thank her, and look forward to many great future endeavors alongside her.”
CASA works to protect abused and neglected children and Todd’s organization oversees the volunteer-led CASA effort in Northwest Louisiana. Volunteers for Youth Justice runs the truancy program for the Caddo District Attorney’s office and the Caddo Parish School Board.
“Her management skills and prompt initiative have earn her a stalwart reputation in the legal community,” Chief Judge of Juvenile Court for Caddo Parish David Matlock said in a release.
According to the Volunteers for Youth Justice website, https://www.vyjla.org, it can only support 60 percent of the children in need of crisis intervention in Northwest Louisiana.
Founded in 1981, Volunteers for Youth Justice is a volunteer-based, community supported nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a community caring for children, youth and families in crisis. Born from collaborative efforts of the Caddo Parish Juvenile Court and First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport, and modeled on pioneering efforts in Atlanta, Georgia, it first was launched as the Shreveport Juvenile Justice Program.
Now known as VYJ, it has since built on the foundation of diversion programming to include advocacy, life-skill training and mentoring experiences for abused, neglected and at-risk children throughout Northwest Louisiana. Today, VYJ has three primary programs: Court Appointed Special Advocates; Youth Programs that consist of GEMS & GENTS-Youth Mentoring Programs and Fair Park Leadership Academy, JUMPSTART, Teen Court, Conflict Resolution and Facts of Life; and court programs that consist of FINS (Families in Need of Services) and Caddo Truancy.