CASA searching for Christmas sponsors

December 1st, 2006    Author: Rodney Beckwith    Filed Under: News

CASA for Clermont Kids is hoping that local residents will find it in their hearts to help a child in need this Christmas season.

The child advocacy group is coordinating an effort to sponsor foster children they work with in order to make sure that their Christmas morning is a special one.

“It’s a holiday gifting program and we’re looking for sponsorship for our children,” said CASA executive director Karey Ringland. “We have about 60 children in our program, and we make sure it’s even for children in foster homes with other foster children. We make sure that the gifts even out if we can, and if there’s a foster child in the home who is not being sponsored by another agency, we take care of that too.”

CASA stands for court appointed special advocate. The organization is designed to help kids through the difficult court processes that accompany being set in foster care after cases of abuse or neglect. This program, said Ringland, is an extension of that advocacy that helps kids to find a silver lining to their situation.

"Every year it works so well," said Ringland. "It makes such a difference for these children. Some of the children have never experienced the holidays like this. Some of them have been removed from a dangerous situation, their life is changing, and this is the sign that there is a better life out there for them and there is a caring community. That's the message we try to bring to the children. You should see their faces. We get lots of glowing reports from foster parents who see their joy. It's well worth it."

The program has been a seasonal hit for years now, said Ringland, and can be participated in in a number of ways. Donors can give in a general sense, allowing CASA to assign gifts as needed, or pick a certain child to sponsor.

"If you purchase for a specific child, it goes to that child," said Ringland. "What we look at though is, if there is another foster child in that home that aren't CASA children, we have other gifts we have available to even things out."

"We can coordinate if the gifter is interested in a specific age group or gender," added Ringland. "We can organize that, and the shopping days are getting few, so if people are interested they can call us as soon as possible. We still have lots of children available for sponsorship. Some people who participate don't want to sponsor a specific child, but may pick extra up as they do their holiday shopping and donate that way, which is great. We make it all work."

The goal is to provide each child in the CASA program with about $75 worth of gifts. CASA has some information available as to a buying guide to help donors find the right gifts for the CASA kids, but money can also be donated so the CASA "elves" can find the appropriate gifts.

"We are asking for everything to be completed by Dec. 8 and for the gifts to be in the CASA office, unwrapped, and we take care of wrapping them and making sure that Santa's elves get out before the big day and deliver all of the gifts so they are available for the children that morning," said Ringland. "This is a Santa Claus thing - it's not from CASA, although we help organize it to make sure all of those children really enjoy the holidays to their fullest. We seek the sponsorship for the children for a value of about $75 per child. Some people are wonderful bargain hunters and can spend $30 and have the $75 value quite easily."

For more information, contact Ringland at (513) 735-SAFE (7233).
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