ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A local non-profit that helps kids going through neglect and abuse added to its roster of advocates.

Winnebago County CASA held a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday evening. Eleven volunteers took the oath in all. Among them was new Executive Director John Papiernik. Program administrators said that volunteers ensure a child’s voice is heard and that their needs are met in court.

One graduate said that he is ready to get to work.

“The biggest reason why I wanted to do this was to really be there for the minors going through these tough situations,” said new advocate Javier Rodriguez. “They’re going through a lot and to be there for them, that’s nothing.”

Winnebago County CASA still needs more volunteers. The organization hopes to train an additional 130 people.