Newsmakers To Feature “CASA” – Sunday, January 13


(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Would you be willing to be the voice for a child? 

There is a need for Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA Volunteers.  On the next edition of Newsmakers a closer look at the CASA program in our area. 

 Host Jayne Ann Bugda will be joined by John Aciukewicz, Esq Executive Director, CASA of Luzerne County and Annie Ellis, CASA Advocate Coordinator of Luzerne County.  They will discuss the program and its impact on youngsters in our region.  Plus, how you can be a CASA Volunteer. 

Newsmakers will air on Sunday, January 13,

at 6:30 am on WYOU and 11:30 am on WBRE.

More information on CASA  (570) 855-2247

More information on CASA Luzerne County 

Learn more about CASA  Click Here

-CASA’s Mission: To recruit, train and support community volunteers to serve as the voice of abused and neglected children in the Luzerne County court system

-CASA of Luzerne County is a non-profit 501(c)3 child advocacy organization that was established in 2013.  CASAof Luzerne County is Part of the National CASA Association

-On average, CASA Volunteers can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a month on a case.  The average case lasts about a year and a half

  CASA encourages people from all cultures, professions, ethnic and educational backgrounds to participate.

 -Requirements include:

•     21 years old or older

•      Background check,

•     Complete  pre-service training

•     Be present and available for court appearances  with advance notice

•     Be willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed


CASA is recruiting new volunteers for the next training class which begins on Wednesday evening, March 27th.

CASA has an initiative identified as “90 in 20”. They are hoping to train 90 new volunteers by the end of 2020

 There will be four more training classes in the next two years.

 CASA Events!

NEPA Sings. Auditions are scheduled for Saturday, February 9, 2019, at 10 a.m. and the competition will be held on Thursday, April 11th beginning at 5:30 p.m. Both the Auditions and Competition will take place at the Kirby Center for Creative Arts on the campus of Wyoming Seminary on N. Sprague Avenue.

Meet our guests


John joined CASA in 2016 after serving three years on the Board of Directors. His desire to help CASA achieve the growth he knew it was capable of was so great that he stopped practicing law after more than 30 years and redirected his attention to helping abused and neglected foster children in Luzerne County.

John is an active member of St. Therese’s in Shavertown, PA, as well as a member of the advisory board for Mercy Services in Wilkes-Barre, PA. He is a past member of the Mercy Consultation Center in Dallas, PA. 

He credits his father for teaching him the importance of honesty, humility, integrity, character, hard work, and faith. His 33-year marriage to his best friend, Beth, is one his greatest blessings, in addition to their journey together raising their three sons, Josh, 30; Zach, 28; and Aaron, 24. 

John is graduate of Dickinson School of Law and Gettysburg College.


Annie has been a court appointed special advocate since 2016. Her passion for CASA prompted her to officially join our staff in 2018, leaving a three decade-long career as a litigation paralegal. She believes that every child deserves to be cherished, and aligning herself with CASA of Luzerne County allows her to affect positive change.

Annie feels so strongly about CASA’s mission after having seen first-hand the difference a trusted adult can make in the life of a child that has been neglected or abused. She often tells the children for whom she advocates: “Your past is not your future. Anything is possible. I will be right here with you.”

She is equally passionate about her four children – Devon, Quinn, Max, and Liam – and their soon-to-be 10 children, and is trying really hard to enjoy running.

Annie attended Bloomsburg University, University of Scranton, and the American Institute for Paralegal Studies.

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