CASA for Clermont Kids will be hosting its signature fund-raiser May 4 in hopes of raising a substantial amount of money to support its work in protecting abused and neglected children.
CASA, or court appointed special advocate, refers to an individual who helps children who have been abused or neglected by their caregivers as the children navigate the legal system in search of a stable home.
“CASA is a volunteer-based child advocacy program,” said executive director Karey Ringland. “We address the best interests of the children who have been introduced into the juvenile court because of abuse or neglect inflicted on them by their parents or guardians.”
The fund-raiser, a derby theme this year, is the organization’s central funding drive for the year.
“We have our annual fund-raiser coming up,” said Ringland. “It’s a derby theme, and its the night before the big derby. We have live music, a rolling auction that starts as a silent auction and moves to a live auction. We have theme raffle baskets, some of which are through the county departments.”
"They have a friendly competition that goes on for all of the county baskets," Ringland said. "The baskets that acquires the most interest through ticket sales wins. Traditionally, there is a traveling CASA trophy that they get to keep in their office for a year. This year, we've been able to add to that with a table for 10 to the event next year."
Ringland said that the competition typically translates into a lot of happy winners.
"The raffle items are absolutely unbelievable," said Ringland. "Last year, the winner told me that it took her two SUVs to get everything home. There was so much in just the one raffle entry, and the beauty is that anyone at the event can win. The tickets are only $1 a ticket, or a strip of 14 for $10. It's a fun thing."
The derby party fund-raiser will be from 7-11 p.m., and adults can get in for $25 a person or $45 a couple. For more information, go online to www.casaforclermontkids.org. While the main goal of the night is to raise money, Ringland said that she also hopes to gain new volunteers to help children in the county.
"The number varies, but we're averaging about 65 kids at any one time this year," said Ringland. "The cases can stay open for years though. It depends on the individual circumstances. We're looking to provide a secure, safe adoptive home in some cases, and we're involved in investigating to make sure this is the best home for the child. We have about 27 volunteers now, and there is a need for more. Unfortunately, the rate of filings continues to increase in our county and we need to continue to increase our volunteer service to provide advocacy for all of the children in need."