CASA holds fundraiser, asks for more volunteers to help abused c - KCTV5 News

CASA holds fundraiser, asks for more volunteers to help abused children

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(Via Jackson County MO CASA on Facebook) (Via Jackson County MO CASA on Facebook)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

More than a thousand people attended CASA’s Light of Hope fundraising breakfast on Thursday morning.

In the audience was one woman who shared her story about the horrific physical and sexual abuse she experienced growing up. Now, she is helping children in similar circumstances.

“I was a CASA kid without a CASA, so I was abused and neglected but didn’t have a team to support to me,” said Lisa Carpenter, a CASA volunteer.

Carpenter said everyone’s story is different but that, for her, the abuse started early. She remembers running away for the first time in 2nd grade because the street was safer than her home.

“It was tough,” she said. “We were abused and neglected in every way shape and form you can imagine.”

Her teacher in the 4th grade was the first one to notice there was an issue.

However, she never had a CASA volunteer to be in her corner so she was never removed from her living situation. Instead, she removed herself and lived with her friends’ families for weeks at a time.

Now she is helping children, who are like her and are in abusive homes, get the help they need.

The statistics show the volunteers truly makes a difference.

“For our children who have CASA volunteers, they are more likely to spend less time in the system, less likely to be re-abused and come back into the system, more likely to get the services that they need,” said Karrie Duke, CASA’s Director of Volunteer Programs.

For the past six years, 95 percent of children who had a CASA volunteer have not re-entered the Jackson, Johnson, or Wyandotte County courts.

Carpenter said they are breaking the cycle like she has.

“People would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said, ‘I want to be 16,’” she said. “I wanted to be 16 because I thought the most fabulous thing in the world was driving a car. That was total independence. But, I didn’t think I would make it to 16. So, that was my dream: to be 16. I want my CASA kids to have better dreams than that.”

CASA staff members said they are in desperate need of volunteers. They said the more volunteers they have, the more children they can help.

You don't have to have any experience, special skills, or education to become a volunteer. You just need to have a heart for helping children, go through a background check, and then undergo training.

If you would like to become a CASA volunteer, visit www.casakc.org or call Jackson County CASA at 816-984-8204.

While each case is different, a CASA volunteer usually spends about 10 flexible hours a month meeting with the child, speaking with others involved, and attending meetings or court hearings. Ongoing support is provided.

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