October 31, 2012

A Recipe for Lemonade

Two days ago, I cross-posted an article by Tom Fellrath (The Dark Blue Jacket) that really resonated with me. In that article, Tom proposed that CBJ season ticket holders take the lemons they have been handed by the NHL owners and players and turn them into lemonade by donating part of their season ticket refunds to a local charity. I'd like to take things one step further and suggest to you a local charity very worthy of your consideration. That local charity is CASA of Franklin County.

Disclaimer: What follows next is blatant pandering. Therefore, I feel it is only fair to warn of you that up front. I plead nolo contendere. However, I urge you to read further before passing sentence on me.

If you are like most people in this community, you haven't heard of CASA of Franklin County. I want to try to change that. That is my personal mission as a member of the board of the directors for CASA.

Court Appointed Special Advocates ("CASA") of Franklin County advocates for abused and neglected children by providing them with a voice in the juvenile court system. CASA recruits, screens  trains and supports community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA stands up for children who, without us, would be powerless to stand up for themselves. This short video explains further:


How does CASA give these desperate children a voice? Through the appointment by the court of a CASA-trained guardian ad litem ("GAL"). A GAL trained by CASA becomes a voice for a vulnerable child navigating the overburdened legal and social services systems.  After an extensive screening and training process, volunteers are officially sworn in as officers of the court.  GALs get to know the children well enough to make objective recommendations to the court about where the children should live, if and when they should see their parents and siblings, and many other crucial decisions about their well-being.  Most people don't realize that our court systems simply do not have the resources to fully investigate these types of things. Our CASAs do this work for the court system, gathering information on each case by making regular visits with the child, speaking with professionals and other adults involved with the family, attending meetings regarding the child's welfare, and appearing in court on behalf of the child.

The work that CASA does is not only critical for the well being of these children, but also to the future of this great community. Statistics show that without our assistance, these abused and neglected children are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to get involved with drugs, more likely to end up in jail, and more likely to continue the cycle of abuse when they have kids. The odds are stacked against these children. Through the work of our passionate volunteers, CASA helps give these kids a real chance to rise above their  dreadful circumstances and lead productive lives, and in doing so they help this community become a better place one abused and neglected child at a time.

Tomorrow, on November 1, Blue Jackets season ticket holders will be entitled to request a refund from the team for actual games not played. If you like Tom's idea and want to make some lemonade by donating a part of that refund to a local charity, I ask you to consider CASA of Franklin County. You can make a donation online at: http://www.casacolumbus.org/

But making a monetary donation is only one of the ways you can help this wonderful organization. You can become a CASA (info provided on website), you can help us with fund-raising in these difficult financial times and, perhaps most importantly, you can help spread the word about CASA. Give them a Like on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

On behalf of the volunteers, the staff and the board members at CASA, I thank you sincerely for your consideration and generosity.

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