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CASA volunteers honored tonight

Karl Horeis

Twenty-five people who volunteer thousands of hours each year to help neglected children will be honored this evening with a dinner called Light of Hope.

The Court-Appointed Special Advocates of Carson City coordinate mentors appointed by juvenile court on behalf of children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.

“(The volunteers) are ordinary people who are concerned about kids,” said CASA director Chris Bayer. His 25 volunteers – mostly from Carson City – are currently advocating for about 50 children ages 0 to 18.

They are trained in how the legal system works, the dynamics of abuse and neglect, child development, mental health issues, substance abuse issues and more.

“We get everything from babies born with methamphetemines in their bodies because their mothers were using not long before giving birth to 17 year olds who’ve been removed for a variety of reasons and everything in between,” said Bayer.

The stories of CASA volunteers and the children they help can’t be told publicly because of confidentiality, he said.

“But, you know, these kids are all important and they have all of the same needs that everybody’s children have – they’re just in a difficult spot. Advocacy is very important for them.”

Tonight’s dinner, held at the Pinon Plaza at 6, will honor the volunteers and raise money for CASA. Live jazz music will provided by the band First Take featuring Rick “Sax man” Metz.

“(Along with all volunteers and their spouses), we’re also inviting people from the community who would like to come show their appreciation for CASA volunteers and what they do for the community,” Bayer said.

Tickets for the Light of Hope dinner, $50 each, will be available at the door.

CASA of Carson City is the only nonprofit CASA agency in the state. The other three – in Washoe, Clark and Douglas – are all county agencies.

The Carson organization relies on donations. Major contributors include Carson City, Soroptimists International, Coldwell Banker and the Presbyterian and Methodist churches.

CASA volunteers may be involved in a single case for several years.

“The goal is to provide a safe, permanent home for the child,” Bayer said.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.