She knew she wanted to help children, and after looking around, she decided to help Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children in Cherokee County, or CASA as it is commonly known.
More than 10 years later, she is still going strong with CASA and was just chosen as the 2012 Karen N. Sibley CASA Volunteer of the Year in Georgia, an award named in honor of the founder of Georgia CASA.
Bush said that while she received other awards during her career, this one was the best.
“It came as a surprise, I didn’t know until just before they awarded it that I had even been nominated,” Bush said. “It was the biggest moment of my life. The fact that young people are involved makes the award more rewarding.”
Through individualized attention, CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children, bringing urgency to a child’s needs both in and out of a courtroom.
Cherokee County Juvenile Court Judge M. Anthony Baker said it well when he spoke about Bush’s work as a CASA volunteer.
“It is a great thing for the judges in Cherokee County to have Millie Bush as one of our CASA volunteers,” Baker said. “Mrs. Bush has spent thousands of hours advocating for children in foster care. … Without fail, she has always shown great professionalism, determination and compassion for the children she serves. Millie Bush is the epitome of what a CASA volunteer should be.
Bush has been a dedicated, persistent advocate on 29 CASA cases. She has served 47 children during her tenure, 28 of whom returned home to strengthened and healthy families and 10 of whom were adopted.
“I have always had a love for children. I read a lot about what foster children go through. Once I retired, I knew I had time on my hands and wanted to do something worthwhile,” said Bush, who said the role has paid off in personal rewards. “When you see a child moving from a bad situation to an improved situation, it is extremely rewarding.”
Bush remembers one case that involved two preschool-age children whose parents were put in prison for drug issues. The children were removed from their home and later placed with their grandparents. They had foul mouths, no understanding of rules and extremely high energy levels.
Bush worked to preserve the family placement. She supported the grandparents, encouraging them not to give up, and advocated for play therapy for the children. The children made great strides in therapy and in daycare, and today the grandparents are the permanent custodians and the children are safe and secure, according to CASA.
“Millie Bush is a dedicated professional who works hard, knows the families and children, is dedicated to the goal of a safe and permanent home, respects the opinions of others and ensures her thoughts are known,” said Juvenile Court Judge John B. Sumner.
Bush and her husband moved to Cherokee County 16 years ago.
Bush’s first career was in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years.
She then worked for Hewlett Packard in finance for the next 16 years.
Last year, more than 1,960 CASA volunteers served over 8,800 children in Georgia.
To contact CASA for Children, visit casacherokee.org or call (770) 345-3274.