“All kids matter.”
That motto was the biggest takeaway from the Porter County CASA program’s 30th Anniversary Gala on Nov. 8.
The CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate, volunteer program is designed to train and support individuals who advocate for children entering into the court system due to abuse or neglect. CASA provides a safety net for the child welfare system and fully dedicates its time and resources to their consistent care and needs. This initiative is part of the Family & Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).
“It takes a village to make this all happen,” said Kate Flannery, Director of Development and Community Relations. “We have been here for the community since 1989 and we just want people to know that we are always ready to assist.”
According to a recent study made by CASA, there is a 125 percent increase in children who are in need of advocacy. In order to combat these increased demands, the program requires more volunteers. With extra help, CASA will be able to support community growth through public awareness, marketing, outreach/informational presentations, consistent education, and volunteer training.
“This event really shows the honor and legacy of the volunteerism of our program’s 30-year history,” said Emily Hoak, CASA Development Assistant. “I think this gala captures the gratitude we have for our community. I hope the one takeaway our guests will have tonight is to spread awareness. We’re always looking for more volunteers and there is a need for dedicated citizens to help out.”
In addition to the anniversary celebration, a special honor called the Spirit of Rose Award was given to volunteer Annie Gonzalez. This is given to an exemplary CASA volunteer who has demonstrated the same positive qualities of compassion, generosity, and love that former staff member Rose Butler had.
“I hope this celebration renews the spirit of CASA moving forward,” said Gonzalez. “I want to continue dedicating my time and energy to my CASA kids and be an inspiration to my peers.”
“I’m blown away by the good will and conscientiousness of the volunteers that come here to support,” said Sarah Fink, Director of Porter County CASA. “We appreciate anyone who reaches out to us and spreads word about the work that we do. It’s all to make sure that kids in our community don’t fall through the cracks and that they have someone watching over them.”
For more information about Porter County CASA and FYSB’s other programs, please visit https://www.fysb.org/