Buffalo Grove volunteer wins CASA’s outstanding service award
Nineteen adults who completed 40 hours of training by CASA Lake County in Vernon Hills were sworn in last year as new officers of the Lake County Juvenile Court. A Buffalo Grove volunteer recently was honored for his outstanding service. | Submitted photo
Updated: March 5, 2013 6:52PM
BUFFALO GROVE — “He has one of the most difficult cases we’ve ever had,” said Joanie Bayhack, director of development and communication for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lake County. “He’s an amazing guy.”
Bayhack was speaking about Cleveland Tyson, a Buffalo Grove resident who won CASA’s Outstanding Service Award with fellow volunteer Lynn Kubichan of Grayslake. Tyson and Kubichan’s case involves working with a mother of seven children — each with a different father.
On Monday, Tyson said the work he and Kubichan were doing for those children was the most challenging, and rewarding, effort they had made in their lives.
Q: How did you get involved with CASA?
A: I’m a retired attorney. I spent 32 years in the insurance industry. After I retired, I was looking around for something to do to give back to the community. My wife and I had been contributors to CASA over the years, so I contacted them to see if they needed any volunteers. And they did. It’s hard work, emotionally, but it’s very fulfilling. You can have an impact, even if it’s a small impact, on a child’s life. Our children are killing each other out there on the street.
Q: What is the work of CASA like?
A: We’re officers of the court, and we’re appointed until the proceedings are completed. We have broad authority to investigate the circumstances surrounding that child, so that we can make an intelligent and informed recommendation to the judge. Our sole — and this I do want to emphasize — our sole focus is on the best interests of the child. There’s a lot of parties when a child is in court, and they all have their own concerns. Our sole focus is on that child. A volunteer has the authority to talk to all parties involved with this child, including the parents, relatives, medical and school staff, police and anyone else. CASA trains you, in terms of what you need to do, and they supervise you. It’s more giving periodic, written reports to the court. We need volunteers.
Q: You are the judge’s private investigator?
A: That’s exactly it.
Q: How did you find out that you and Lynn were the winners?
A: Actually, my wife and I were celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary. We were downtown, in Chicago, the same night that CASA had its awards ceremony. I got a text message from Lynn telling me that she and I had won. It was very, very gratifying.
Q: It sounds like you didn’t expect to win.
Q: You were an attorney for an insurance company, two fields in which everyone involved wants to keep everything regulated and orderly. The world of children in the court system can range from irregular to chaotic. What was it like to see a world with few people enforcing the rules?
A: The term ‘chaos’ was absolutely the right term, and it was a shock. I’m a father, I have two grown children, and I have two grandchildren, and let me tell you, I really learned how insulated my world was when I really started seeing how tough some kids have it today.
Q: What is the future of you and Lynn’s current case?
A: I can envision this case lasting, easily, three years, maybe four or five years. Sometimes they’re so complicated, they take a long time to resolve.