CASA Angel Tree helps bring Christmas to at-risk kids
Published 8:41 am Friday, November 10, 2023
Members of the community can find the perfect gifts for 18 children from the Lincoln County CASA Angel Tree.
The second annual Lincoln County CASA Angel Tree kickoff event was held Monday morning at Kentucky Soaps and Such, giving residents a way to brighten the holiday season for abused and neglected Lincoln County children.
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“It is an honor for us to partner with the CASA Angel Tree program again this year,” said Julie Cox with Wilderness Road Hospitality Group, the parent company of Kentucky Soaps and Such. “This is one way that our community can help bring awareness to the program. We don’t always want to know about the yuck that’s going on in our community, but if we bring awareness to it, we’re in the beginning stages of doing something about it.”
Attendees chose envelopes from the CASA Angel Tree that contained the wish lists of children who have been appointed a Court-Appointed Special Advocate volunteer. After they purchase gifts for the children and bring them back to the Lincoln County CASA office or Kentucky Soaps and Such, Lincoln County’s CASA volunteers will deliver the gifts to the children’s caregivers in time for the holidays.
Anyone who would still like to participate can shop from the CASA Angel Tree wish list on Amazon, available at https://bit.ly/casaangeltree2023. Gifts purchased will be shipped to CASA, then used to supplement the gifts purchased for each child.
“Child abuse and child neglect are real issues here in Kentucky and here in Lincoln County,” said Melynda Jamison, Executive Director of Lincoln County’s CASA program.
Last year in Lincoln County, 143 children were abused or neglected, going by the actual petitions filed and substantiated, Jamison said. That doesn’t count any children whose abuse or neglect was never reported, she added.
In 2022, Lincoln County’s CASA volunteers advocated for 15 children in the family court system. So far in 2023, they have advocated for 22.
“We want to get to the point where we’re able to serve every child who needs a CASA volunteer,” Jamison said. “In order to do that, we need more volunteers. So we’re continuing to recruit volunteers in Lincoln County.”
CASA volunteers complete a 30-hour training class, then are matched with children in the family court system. Each volunteer visits their CASA child monthly, talks to adults in the child’s life, and provides recommendations to the judge on the child’s case.
It takes about 5-10 hours a month to serve as a CASA volunteer. Children who receive a CASA volunteer do better in school, have more hope for the future and are far less likely to re-enter foster care after their cases close.
The next regional training class for people who want to serve in Lincoln County will begin Jan. 9, with classes on evenings and weekends at the CASA of Lexington Fayette County office, 3245 Loch Ness Dr. in Lexington. In-person trainings specifically for Lincoln and Garrard volunteers are also held multiple times a year.
To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, visit www.casaoflexington.org/training.
To supplement gifts for abused and neglected children on the CASA Angel Tree, visit https://bit.ly/casaangeltree2023. When placing an order, choose the “gift registry address” for shipping.