This Saturday at McFarland Park, shelter 1 at 8 am, CASA of Florence/Lauderdale County, Inc. will sponsor a 5k and 1 mile run/walk that will benefit the Florence/Lauderdale CASA chapter. You can register online HERE.
Back in June, the director, Andrea Holt allowed me to do an interview with her to let the public know more of the work they do. Here is part of that 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!! EDIT, And this Saturday with the walk/run at McFarland shelter 1.