Home Announcements Third Annual CASA Program Gala Fundraiser Happens This Saturday

Third Annual CASA Program Gala Fundraiser Happens This Saturday


Lassen Family Service’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program will be hosting a ‘Gala’ fundraiser dinner and silent auction this Saturday, May 18th, benefiting the children of Lassen County in the CASA program.

CASA’s third annual gala will include a delicious meal, a bar with beer, wine and two signature cocktails, a silent auction, program awards, a live band and wonderful company!

All proceeds from ticket sales, sponsorships, and the silent auction go directly to the CASA program and will be used to benefit the children the program serves.

Funds gathered this way helps CASA purchase things like ‘on the go’ meals, sports equipment, clothing, toys, school supplies and more.

Court Appointed Special Advocates, known as CASA volunteers, are community members from all walks of life with a common pledge to dedicate about ten hours a month towards helping a child in the foster care system.

They are thoroughly trained in topics such as advocacy, the foster care system, the child dependency system, childhood trauma, educational needs, etc. to become a strong ally for a child who has been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.

“These children all have their own stories and individual wants and needs,” explains CASA Case Coordinator Sareena Estes.

“The goal of the CASA is to be the voice for that child, both in and out of court.”

They help ensure that children are getting the placements and services they need, and to ensure that the decisions made on their behalf are ultimately in the best interest of the child.

“The current ‘system’ is overburdened and stretched very thin. Judges may hear multiple complicated cases per day, social workers typically have an unreasonable case load, are in constant demand, and are simply overworked. A CASA volunteer usually only has one case at a time, giving them ample time to focus on that child specifically.”

Time spent includes case research, meeting with professionals such as teachers, doctors/dentists, therapists, social workers, etc., preparing reports for the judge, and attending court hearings. The bulk of the time spent is with their CASA child.

“Going on outings and getting to know the child is one of the best parts of being a volunteer, not to mention the opportunity to be the voice for a child who is so very deserving. CASAs help provide stability, promote self-confidence, and build resiliency while advocating for the child’s best interest in court, school, and in the community.”

“Children that have gotten to the point of being detained from their home of origin have usually already been through some really hard times, but being away from what they have known their whole lives and going through the court system can be just as scary. Having an advocate by their side can make the process a little less painful and a little less intimidating.”

In some cases, the CASA is the most consistent adult in their lives during their case.

Placements, social workers, teachers, and other adults in their lives may change, but a CASA stays for the entirety of the case. Getting to be there for a child who is experiencing some of the toughest moments of their lives thus far is a true honor, regardless of how challenging it may first appear.

From 2022 to 2023, the Lassen Family Services CASA program served 138 children in the dependency system.

According to Estes, our local program currently has twenty-six children in need of an advocate. To become a CASA volunteer, you must be at least 21 years of age, have a clear criminal history, have a valid California Driver’s License (for at least three consecutive years), vehicles used to transport children must have insurance, and must have the ability to relate to people of different cultural backgrounds.

There is an initial training course which is 32 hours in length and can be completed online.

Once that is complete there are additional hours of training provided in person with CASA staff followed by court observation and then finally being sworn in as an Officer of the Court by the Dependency Court judge.

Twelve hours of continuing education is required per year to stay active, which is easy to attain as CASA provides ample interesting and relevant training opportunities – both in person and online.

All details aside, the biggest requirement is the desire to help a child in need. A favorite quote when asked how volunteers have the time is by Elizabeth Andrews- “volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart”.

For additional information on becoming a volunteer or information regarding the Gala, contact Lassen Family Services CASA program staff at 1.530.257.4599.

The cost of the dinner is $40 per plate and tickets are available at Margie’s Book Nook, Zaengles Floor and Home and Lassen Family Services. You can click here to purchase tickets online. You must be 21 or older to attend.

Dinner and non-alcoholic beverages will be included with admission, and there will be a cash bar.

Doors open at 5:30 at Sentimental Journey, 465-320 Church Street, in Janesville.

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