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Everyday Hero event to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocate program Sunday

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WATERTOWN — The Court Appointed Special Advocate of Jefferson and Lewis Counties program’s annual spaghetti dinner benefit has been turned into a large-scale celebration, after volunteers and staff recently were inspired by local teenagers wanting to help abused and neglected children in Jefferson County.

CASA Program Director Aimee J. Whelpley said the annual Pasta for CASA has been transformed into an inaugural Everyday Hero fundraising event. Expanding the event will bring both more opportunities for fundraising and more awareness of how CASA volunteers can help the county’s most vulnerable children.

“Everyone has a role in preventing child abuse,” she said. “The main point of a CASA volunteer is to be a source of continuity for the child. CASA volunteers, in part, are keeping perspective in that child’s sense of time. The reality is with our system, we don’t have enough providers or foster homes.”

The Everyday Hero celebration will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday with a silent auction in the exhibition hall at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, Coffeen Street. A 5k fun run/walk will begin at 2:15 p.m., recognition of people at 3:30 p.m., followed by the spaghetti dinner at 4 p.m.

The auction will close out the day at 5 p.m.

Proceeds will help cover the cost of training workshops and associated materials for CASA volunteers.

Coming off April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, Ms. Whelpley said she was inspired by the General Brown Junior-Senior High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions group, which held a fundraiser to benefit CASA. Daniel Mincer, SADD adviser and General Brown science teacher, is a mediator for a program within the Resolution Center of Jefferson and Lewis Counties, the agency that oversees CASA.

The House of the Good Shepherd, a CASA partner agency, will offer children’s activities, and various foster parents will sponsor a dessert table.

Last year, Pasta for CASA raised $4,500 for the CASA program. Ms. Whelpley said she hopes an expanded event draws in more people to learn about CASA, and raises additional funds to support volunteer training workshops. Volunteers, she said, typically handle one case at a time. Cases often are lengthy and have lasted from eight months to three or more years.

In 2013, CASA served 59 children from 25 families in Jefferson and Lewis counties. There are 16 active CASA volunteers working on cases involving Family Court.

For more information about CASA, or the Everyday Hero event, call Ms. Whelpley at 836-8506, or visit www.resolution-center.net.

IF YOU want to go
Here is a look at information about Sunday’s Everyday Hero benefit for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Jefferson & Lewis counties:
• What — Inaugural Everyday Hero event, with a 5k fun run/walk/family activity day/spaghetti dinner
• When — Begins at 1 p.m. Sunday with a silent auction
• Where — Exhibition Hall at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, off Coffeen Street
• Why — To support CASA, which provides free training for volunteers who assist in some of the most complex child abuse/neglect cases
• Admission — $10 per child for the 5k, $20 per adult, or $50 for a family of up to five people. Those fees include the spaghetti dinner. For those not participating in the walk, the cost of the spaghetti dinner is $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $3 for children ages 5 to 12, or $25 for a family of up to five people
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