Share the Love Gala to benefit CASA of Ellis County
Share the Love Gala 2011 will benefit CASA of Ellis County with a dinner, dance and auction on Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center. Proceeds will go towards the training of CASA’s dedicated community volunteers. Reservations may be made by calling the CASA office at 972-937-1455, or purchased online at www.casaofelliscounty.org (click on events).
All Ellis County VIP’s, including elected officials and public servants have been invited to participate in the Gala by donating a hand-made or hand-crafted item to the silent auction. CASA Executive Director Rhodie Rawls said she had seen this done in several other Counties around the state. “They seemed to have such fun participating, and it gives us a chance to spotlight those who do so much for all of us.”
In Ellis County alone, 1,234 child abuse intake cases were assigned to Child Protective Service (CPS) investigators in 2010. When CPS determines that a home is no longer safe and removes a child and places them in foster care, a judge can appoint a specially trained volunteer, a CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocate) to act as an advocate for what is in the child’s best interest. These volunteers research case records, appear in court, interview those teachers, relatives, doctors and social workers involved in the child’s life to make recommendations to the court regarding the child’s permanent placement.
Last year, 134 Ellis County children were placed in foster care. CASA of Ellis County stepped in to help out with 101 of them, along with over 2,500 volunteer hours and more than 20,000 unreimbursed miles to be a voice for these children.
“I attend several philanthropic events that benefit numerous worthwhile organizations, and I just thought we needed to do something more for the kids of Ellis County,” says Marilyn Jones, chairperson for the event. “I remember seeing the inexcusable living conditions the children of my first CASA case came from, and how rewarding it was to help place the children in a safe, loving environment.”
CASA currently has 55 volunteers that have each undergone over 30 hours of training to help kids that have been removed from abusive homes and are in foster care, an emergency shelter or a relative’s home. The program was first started in Ellis County in 2004 by Judge Bob Carroll, who continually saw the need for that extra voice in his courtroom in the cases involving abused and neglected children. In appreciation of his efforts, Judge Carroll will receive the first Founders’ Award for his innovative creation of the program and his dedication to improving the lives of the children of Ellis County.
To learn more about CASA or to become a volunteer for the program, please visit www.casaofelliscounty.org or call 972-937-1455.