Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

On Susan Close’s biker vest a patch reads: Don’t let your silence drown out their cries.

It’s a motto she holds close to her heart.

“I’ve known lots of people– that as adults now– talk about [how] they wish someone was there for them when they were growing up,” Close says.

Determined to be that voice for victims of child abuse, Close joined Guardians of the Children nearly 10 years ago. The motorcycle club is famous for escorting children to court so kids can have the courage to stand up to their abusers.

“She’s always there, she’s always upbeat, and she’s always making sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do,” says Ed Moore, president of the Central Illinois G.O.C. chapter.

With the biker club, Close has filled positions such as new member coordinator, secretary, and child liaison. But two years ago, she realized she wanted to do more and joined Champaign County CASA.

“I love being able to go to homes and check on children in foster care,” Close told ciLiving Storyteller, Erin Valle. “You grow close to them.”

Brooke Adams, Program Administrator for Champaign County CASA, says Close has assisted at least 3 families in the last few years, supporting children through abuse and neglect trials that sometimes last months.
But what Adams says makes Close remarkable, is her desire to advocate for children in multiple aspects of her life.

“She opened herself up even more, to do even more, because she saw a need in the community and she knew the trauma that these children experience and wanted to be a voice for them,” Adams says.