Monday, June 4, 2012

CASA, A Carnival and an Interview,….

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Y’all have seen me do interviews before. And yes they were mock interviews, not real. They were for entertainment purposes only. This one is different. It is real and has a real purpose. Andrea Holt has graciously allowed me to interview her about CASA and the upcoming carnival that starts this Thursday in the old K-Mart parking lot behind Lauderdale Lanes. So without further ado, lets do this interview,….

OB: Question 1,... What is CASA?

Andrea: CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA is a non-profit agency supporting advocacy for abused and neglected children in our community. Although we'd like to think that our community is immune to child abuse and neglect - we're not. Fortunately, CASA is here to train and support community members who are making sure that these children get the attention and services they need to be safe and have the best potential for a healthy adult life.

OB: Question 2,… Can people volunteer to help?

Andrea: ABSOLUTELY! CASA is a tax-savings organization because the advocacy work is performed by Volunteer Advocates! CASA was created as a program to offer individualized attention to abused and neglected children without creating additional tax burdens on our child welfare system. Our staff spends a great deal of time training and supporting our Volunteer Advocates who are on the front lines with children. When parents can't or won't put their children's best interest first, a CASA Volunteer will. Basically, we don't exist - and more importantly: children don't have a committed, caring and dedicated community member standing up for their best interest without the valuable contributions of Volunteers.

OB: Question 3,… Where does the funding come from for this program?

Andrea: Great question and one that is extremely pertinent in today's economy. CASA receives about 25% of its funding from a portion of local court collection fees. Historically, we've been in a position to receive some pass-through funding from the National CASA Association - but due to the recent decision to zero out funding for the Victims of Child Abuse (VOCA) Act in the fiscal 2013 budget, we will lose millions of dollars in our efforts to protect children. So, in order to continue doing what’s right and standing up for vulnerable children – we continue to find ways to produce the income we need to “keep the lights on” and help our Volunteers make sure that no child with a CASA slips through the cracks. We do this by creating partnerships in the community that provide free or low-cost services to our organization (such as web-hosting, office supplies, etc.) and by creating unique and exciting fundraisers like our upcoming Summer Carnival!!

OB Question 4,…. The carnival will be June 7th-16th. Arm bands are available and they can contact you for more information?

Andrea: Yes, Summer Carnival 2012 Opening Day is Thursday, June 7th and we’re very excited about this year’s event! We’ve worked really hard to ensure a safe, quality event for the entire family and we are looking forward to perfect summer weather. The Summer Carnival gates will open at 5 pm every day June 7th – June 16th behind Lauderdale Lanes on Florence Blvd. We are selling ‘early bird’ Armband Certificates for only $15 which you will be able to use one time on any day of the Summer Carnival for unlimited rides! At the gate, Armbands will be $20 each. These early bird Armband Certificates must be purchased before June 7th. Just give us a call at 256- 765-0041 and we will let you know where you can purchase your Certificate. We’ve also partnered with some local programs that serve children to offer some “Daily Discount Deals” – and you can check out CASA’s FaceBook page daily to see these savings offers.

Here is a link to their FaceBook page,… Click Me!

OB Question 5,… The proceeds from the carnival will benefit CASA?

Andrea: CASA will receive proceeds from Summer Carnival ticket sales and we’re expecting that the event will be a huge success for our agency. As a matter of fact, last year, Brooke Vandiver, of United Way of Northwest Alabama, brought her two daughters to the Carnival and noted “This is such a great event. The carnival company was so nice and the rides and games all looked great!” Connor Martin (age 10, grandson of Karen McDaniel), stated “This is an amazing Carnival! We need to have this Carnival 365 days a year, so families would have something fun to do all the time!” CASA knows that one of the best ways we can serve abused and neglected children is to advocate for services and programs that are essential to their well-being. To prove that, CASA is partnering this year with Florence School Resource Officers, who will provide security at the event, and in return we will be able to provide some training funds to these officers. We’ve also developed our Daily Discount Deals with local programs such as the YMCA Weekend Backpack Program, Give-A-Kid-A-Chance and the Department of Human Resources - all of which provide much needed assistance to the children in our community.
We hope that everyone will come out to CASA’s Summer Carnival 2012 to help us continue serving children in our community while you have a great time with your family!

Be sure to click on the poster above and visit their FaceBook page. Thank you to Andrea Holt for letting me do this. The Florence/Lauderdale County CASA organization is in good hands with you at the helm as are the children needing the services. Thanks to you and what CASA does for the area. Now it is time to help CASA help some kids……

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