Want to help a child in need during this time of year? Here's how:
As the holidays rapidly approach many of us are already making our wish lists and planning what to buy for our loved ones. A handful of retailers have even announced their Black Friday deals already. Unfortunatly for many children in Colorado the holidays are not a joyful time.
Each year more than 50 thousand report of child abuse and neglect are filed in Colorado. Colorado also currently has more than 11 thousand children in foster care. Affected children in Colorado’s First Judicial District (which is made up of Jefferson County and Gilpin County) are very fortunate to have access to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). This Judicial District is presently ranked 2nd for the amount of abuse and neglect cases reported out of Colorado’s 22 Judicial Districts. CASA is made up entirely of volunteers who are a crucial part of determinng the best and safest options for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Volunteers spend countless hours with children of all ages, getting to know all of the details of their often unthinkable situations so they can be the most informed advocates for the children during related court proceedings. In 2013 CASA volunteers were assigned to 264 cases of child abuse and neglect. Although the CASA program does assist the court system, it is not a government entity but rather a 501 (c)(3) organization which relies exclusively on donations and volunteers. The program has proven to be successful as children involved with CASA are ½ as likely to spend time in long term foster care and their cases are significantly more likely to be closed than children who are not assisted by CASA.
Because of the circumstances children in the CASA program are facing, nearly all of them would go without any holiday celebrations or gifts if it were not for donations made each year. As the holidays approach, CASA volunteers sit down with the children and families involved with the program and find out what the kiddos really need and desire. The volunteers then provide a list containing each child’s name, age, gender, wish list and sizes if needed. Since there are children ranging from infancy to teen years in the CASA program the list of needed items is also very diverse. Some children even only ask for grocery store gift cards so their families are able to purchase food.
My real estate team, The ReThink Real Estate Group is a proud supporter of CASA. Last year we sponsored over 60 children. 2015 is ReThink’s 5th year assisting CASA volunteers in spreading holiday cheer to children in need. If you would like to make the holidays a little bit brighter for Colorado kids who have experienced the worst please reach out to our team. You have the option of “sponsoring” a child and purchasing items specifically for them or you can donate new toys, clothing and gift cards for CASA volunteers to supply to the children. 59% of children currently involved with CASA are 11 years or younger, however teenagers have been the most difficult to receive donations for each year.
A few things to consider before you donate- Please do not donate electronics. Gift cards can only be given if a child specifically asks for it in their wish list, however gift cards can be donated so that CASA volunteers and use them to purchase gifts to give to the children. All gifts must be new, unwrapped and have the child’s ID number on them (unless you are not sponsoring a specific child). CASA volunteers will begin collecting donated items on December 8th.