CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, depends primarily on fundraising or grants to provide services dedicated to children who need representation in the court system.
“CASA volunteers (approved by the court) act as “advocates for abused children in the court system,” Wisdom explained.
“Generally, when a child comes into the court system and there are allegations of abuse and neglect, the judge may appoint an attorney guardian ad litem, or GAL, for that child. The GAL is the child’s voice in court and only acts in the best interest of that child,” Wisdom said.
Approximately 100 cases are open at any given time and new volunteer advocates are trained and assigned to cases.
CASA of Bradley County began under the umbrella of the CASA Corridor, but quickly advanced and organized a board of directors in November 2010.
While still under the CASA Corridor which serves McMinn, Meigs and Rhea counties, Wisdom and board members organized the first Melisha Gibson “Moonlight Walk for Hope.”
The walk was a great success, raising awareness and much-needed funding to get the official CASA of Bradley County established.
The 2011 walk was just as successful and participation and interest continue to increase.
“The Moonlight Walk for Hope was the first major fundraising event. Since organization, we continue to gain support through the United Way, who provided us a grant from the funds from Bradley Memorial Hospital, ” Wisdom said. “We had our first Kentucky Derby Party which was scheduled immediately after the April 27 tornadoes. It was successful despite what all was going on in our community at that time.”
The Moonlight Walk for Hope has officially become an annual event for CASA.
“We are now planning the Red Shoe Gala. All the ladies get to dress to the T and wear their favorite pair of red shoes. It will be an eventful and fun-filled evening,” Wisdom said.
“Put on your red shoes and come join us for a fun night benefiting CASA! Be as formal or informal as you want; dress to match your shoes! Overalls and cowboy boots, red stilettos and a cocktail dress, it’s up to you. We’ll have dinner, live music, dancing, a silent auction, and a chance to win a prize (and bragging rights) in our Red Shoe Contest,” Wisdom said.
For additional information on how to sponsor tables or for couples or individual admission, email Wisdom at email@example.com or call 716-1844.