Dearborn County CASA Gets A New Name, New Director

Dearborn County CASA now stands for Community Advocating for Substance-Abuse Awareness.

Bevin Van Wassenhove has been named the next executive director of Dearborn County CASA. Photo provided.

(Dearborn County, Ind.) - Dearborn County Citizens Against Substance Abuse is going through some changes, but will continue to promote local awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and addiction.

CASA is changing its acronym to stand for Community Advocating for Substance-Abuse Awareness. Longtime CASA executive director Donna Thacker says she never liked the old name in comparison.

The timing of the rebranding is appropriate, given Thacker will retire August 31 after years of working with mayors, law enforcement, healthcare providers, schools, and other entities to deter substance abuse. Many of the individuals she has worked with honored her at the CASA Coalition Celebration held July 24 in Aurora.

Thacker says she plans to continue supporting CASA. She is running for the District 2 seat on Dearborn County Council in the 2018 general election.

Hidden Valley resident Bevin Van Wassenhove has been announced as Thacker’s successor.

“Through personal and professional experiences, I have seen the impact of substance abuse on individuals, families, and our community,” Van Wassenhove says.

Van Wassenhove graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in psychology with a focus on substance abuse counseling. She has worked in Dearborn County as a caseworker for Community Mental Health, a family case manager for the Indiana Department of Child Services, and a substance abuse group facilitator at the Dearborn County Juvenile Detention Center.

Bevin views leading CASA as a culmination of the passion she has for substance abuse awareness, prevention, and education.

“Through personal and professional experiences, I have seen the impact of substance abuse on individuals, families, and our community,” she says.

“CASA’s mission is to promote awareness, collaboration, health and hope for youth and adults. This statement encompasses all that I hope to provide to our community in my new position.”

Substance use and abuse can be difficult topics to explore, however, Van Wassenhove says it is imperative to have those conversations to sustain a safe and prosperous community.

Bevin wants to invite all community members to become involved in CASA’s efforts. Dearborn County CASA holds open meetings on the first Monday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Lawrenceburg Community Center.

“As an individual, I am honored to have this opportunity to work beside like-minded partners. As a parent, I recognize that it is a blessing to be part of a community that is focused on creating a safe and healthy environment for our children,” the mother of two says.

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