Chaves County CASA Program Executive Director Carrie-Leigh Cloutier, center, shows a donation check for $1,348.54 to Moose, the CASA therapy dog on Tuesday at the CASA office, while Onita K[auth] ing, left, and Sherrie Goff, members of Faith and Promise United Methodist Women, look on. (Randal Seyler Photo)
Women from local Methodist churches combined forces to raise $1,348 for CASA.
“We’re the first cluster group in the state, and we are an experiment,” said Sherrie Goff, who, along with Onita King, were on hand Tuesday to present the donation check to Chaves County CASA Program Executive Director Carrie-Leigh Cloutier.
The cluster group includes women from three Roswell churches — First United Methodist, Trinity United Methodist Church and Aldersgate United Methodist — as well as Dexter United Methodist Church. The women from the various churches held a fundraising drive for 6 months, collecting change in jars at churches, banks and local businesses.
“I can’t believe the size of this check,” said Cloutier. “I had hit a mid-January slump, where I was wondering how we were going to make it, but then we get a donation like this.”
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and the agency provides volunteers appointed by the Children’s Court of the 5th Judicial District to ensure the needs of children who may have been neglected or abused are being met.
CASA advocates must investigate facts, recommend a course of action, facilitate the resolution of presenting problems, and monitor progress toward established goals, according to its website, casakids.org.
The goal of Chaves County CASA is to provide a powerful voice for every abused child in the court system. To this end, the work of volunteers and staff is organized into a number of specific projects.
Nationally, CASA has grown into a network of more than 59,000 volunteers serving 954 program offices nationwide, according to the website. Since its inception, volunteers have stood with and contended for more than two million kids, making CASA one of the most successful children’s programs in history.
Each year, state and local CASA organizations represent nearly a quarter of a million children who are caught up in the legal system.
“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed their pennies, dimes and nickels and dollars, plus their coin collections,” Goff said. “We also thank the public, who deposited their coins in the containers around town. Without you, we could not have done this.”
Goff also wanted to thank the Methodist pastors for their support — Jim Bignell of Aldersgate and Dexter; Doug Mills of First United and Glenn Thyrion of Trinity.
The cluster group is called Faith and Promise United Methodist Women, and has 30 members.
“By combining our resources, we are able to achieve much more,” King said. “We went from a group of three or four women in different churches to a combined group of 30 women.”
The mission of the group is to focus on women, children and teens, and mission goals include local, state, national and international needs, Goff said.
Meetings of Faith and Promise UMW are held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings at Peachtree Village.
“Gatherings start at 9:30 for fellowship and business meeting including devotions start promptly at 10 a.m.,” Goff said. “All women with a heart for missions are invited to join us. They do not need to belong to the Methodist Church.”