Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 15, 2013

CASA fundraiser nets $24,602

Nonprofit more than doubles goal

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — The Twelve Days of CASA continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.

For the second year in a row, the fundraiser for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Northeast Kentucky Inc. has exceeded expectations.

This time it doubled the goal of $12,000.

“I’m humbled and absolutely overwhelmed,” said Carol Adams, executive director of CASA. “For the second year in a row, it shows people do think of others. It’s very refreshing to see the community support.”

Adams said the fundraiser brought in $24,602 as of Friday afternoon “with a few people out who said they were going to send something in.”

The Twelve Days of CASA, themed after the Twelve Days of Christmas, has kept Adams’ fingers busy on the keyboard, too. She has kept the buzz going on Facebook so much that her friends are threatening to defriend her.

“I’ll have to settle down for awhile,” she said.

Adams said stories in the newspaper and the social media updates have made the fundraiser a rousing success. She also is thankful for 21 corporate sponsors (defined with at least a $500 donation) that were responsible for $11,600 of the donations. The rest came from community individuals or smaller businesses.

Besides the fundraising, which is badly need to keep the doors open at CASA, Adams said the awareness is equally important.

“We’ve had two or three people planning to go through our training and there were several who had never heard of CASA,” she said. “It’s hard to market what we do which is why this kind of campaign is important. People are able to see how we’re making a difference.”

Money raised will be specifically used to help with screening, training and supervising court-appointed volunteers who research the cases of children appearing in court because of abusive or neglectful conditions at home.

Adams said the appointees attend every court hearing with the child, investigate and collect information about their cases and offer written reports and oral testimony to help the judge make informed decisions.

CASA has 23 volunteers, each given only one or two cases, in order for them to have time to thoroughly investigate a particular case, as opposed to juggling up to 30 cases at once, as Adams said most state social workers have to do.

In Boyd County, Adams estimates they help approximately 150 children a year, which is a little less than half of the cases filtered through the system, therefore they are always actively seeking more volunteers.

Since the program is not state-regulated, Adams said it enables CASA to make independent decisions about representation. However, since it is a nonprofit, it is tasked with fundraising to remain sustainable.

“Even though this was the Twelve Days of CASA it’s more like eight days because of the weekends,” she said. “That proves challenging because we have goals every single day of $1,000.”

Besides the monies collected, the Ashland YMCA is giving 30 free youth memberships to foster children in CASA’s care, Adams said.

CASA donations can be made at casaofnortheastky.org using the secure server and PayPal or they can be mailed directly to Boyd County Court House, 2800 Louisa St., Suite 202, Catlettsburg, KY 41129.

For those wishing to volunteer to be part of CASA, he or she must be age 21 or older, allow for several criminal background checks and have a valid driver's license. No professional experience is required and all training is provided through the CASA national curriculum once appointed by the judge.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.