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Home News-Telegram News Sweets: CASA Cookie Walk under way Friday

Sweets: CASA Cookie Walk under way Friday

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Need some sweet treats for a holiday gathering or simply a tasty pick me up?  Be sure to stop by the CASA Cookie Walk, a holiday tradition which gives community members the opportunity to stock up on Christmas goodies while contributing to an organization dedicated to advocacy for abused and neglected children.

This year’s Cookie Walk will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in First United Methodist Church Family Life Center, and continue until noon or until all the cookies are gone, whichever comes first.

Cookie connoisseurs with a craving for a particular flavor or treat will want to get there early as specialty treats go especially fast. 

Simply grab a container on the way in, walk around tables laden with baked goods, and select from the variety of yummy treats. Cookies once again will cost just $5 per pound.

All cookies are donated for the sale by CASA volunteers and board, local civic organizations, school groups and individuals, and are generally as diverse and sweet as those providing them, but additional contributions are always welcome.

“We want tons of cookies. If someone wants to bake some to donate, they will be more than welcome. Just bring them by,” said Gina Law, executive director for Lake Country CASA.

To volunteer to provide home-baked cookies for the Dec. 6 event, drop them off at the Lake Country CASA office at 218 Connally St. on Thursday, Dec. 5, or stop by FUMC Friday, Dec. 5 before the walk begins. CASA staff, advocates, board and other volunteers will be on hand in the Family Life Center beginning around 7 a.m. Friday to accept cookie donations and to get everything set up.

One child who accompanied a parent to the Cookie Walk to help select items for their family described the vast array of snacks as “like a fairy land.” In the morning, the aromas and scene bring to mind delightful sweets featured in the Tchaikovsky Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker.”

All proceeds from the Cookie Walk will go to help children represented by Lake Country CASA. The funds go toward those little extras CASA’s children can’t afford, and provides additional funding to keep the program going, including training of volunteers to represent children and office supplies.

As of Monday, Dec. 1, Lake Country CASA had served 138 children in its three county service area, including 60 from Hopkins County. The rest are children served in Franklin and Rains counties.

“Some are removed for financial reasons — some parents just need a little help getting their kiddoes back. Others are in bad, even dangerous situations,” Law explained. “This isn’t just a cookie walk, it’s an awareness campaign too.”

While the program doesn’t have quite as many children on its list this year as in some past years (a whopping 249, 91 from Hopkins County in 2010) — a good thing considering that means fewer children in the area removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect — CASA is already serving eight more children total and five more in Hopkins County than just one year ago. And, unfortunatley, current in-take reports project more children will be entrusted to CASA by the end of the year, according to Law.

More volunteers to serve as advocates for children in court via the CASA program are always welcomed and needed.

“We have some really good volunteers. They often take on more than one case. Some have three and four cases. They are the unsung heroes of the whole system,” Law said.

That’s still a large case load and a lot of work for a limited number of CASA volunteers. That’s why CASA always welcomes additional volunteers committed to representing children who are “in the system,” to ensure the children’s best interests are met or at least recommended.

“We need volunteers to help represent these children, to speak for them, what’s in the best interest of the children. Every case needs a volunteer,” Law said. “It would only take a couple of hours of an individual’s time. The need for more volunteers increases with the number of children. We need more volunteers very, very, very much. If someone wants to volunteer to become a CASA, we can do a class at any time. Anything they can do helps with support and care of these children.”

CASA volunteers receive 30 hours of training to prepare them to be advocates for children in the foster care system referred to them by Child Protective Services. Of those 15 are online hours that the volunteer can do on their time. Training is less intensive, tailored to the individual volunteers, who do more reading on their own as opposed to on-site training.

For more information,  call the local office at 903-885-1173.

 

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