Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Parkland held the first of what it hopes will become an annual Light of Hope luncheon on May 26 at the Centene Center in Farmington. The free event supported CASA’s efforts to advocate for abused and neglected children in the community.
"As a new organization and like many others, 2020 brought unexpected challenges," said JoAnna Watts, CASA's executive director, "however, CASA was able to recruit, train, and support new community volunteers to stand up for children in foster care. CASA volunteers work diligently to make sure a foster child’s needs (medical, therapeutic, educational) are met by advocating for them within the court system. We would like to share the impact CASA makes in the lives of these precious children, and the need is significant."
The event brought together almost 200 business people, elected officials, community leaders and members.
Those attending the luncheon heard from two women who shared what having a court-appointed special advocate meant to them while they were in foster care. The luncheon was a fundraising event at which attendees were asked to consider making a contribution, but there was no obligation to do so and no minimum or maximum gift requested.
"All of our donations directly fund CASA of the Parkland’s critical advocacy," Watts said. "Thank you to everyone who came to support and learn more about the work our great CASAs do. There are so many wonderful people to thank, including Cici's (Pizza) and Audiology & Hearing Center of Farmington who were generous sponsors of the event; Mark Toti, who was our amazing emcee; the almost 200 people who came to hear the impact of a CASA to children in foster care; and our board and volunteers for all the work they do."