Wilson County CASA holds Reverse Raffle

Kaitlin Vantrease • Jul 7, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Wilson County Court Appointed Special Advocates, a non-profit organization, held its bi-annual reverse raffle Thursday night at the Wilson County Expo Center.

The fundraiser sold 300 tickets and $10,000 was given away. The reverse raffle got down to 10 people who were given the choice to keep $1,000 for themselves or keep going. They chose to keep going until it got down to the last 3 ticketholders and each of them left with $3,333.

Along with the money, door prizes were given away.

This is the 15th year that the Wilson County CASA has held a reverse raffle, the organization’s largest fundraiser. The money goes to training volunteers, supporting volunteers and volunteer recognition.

Judge Barry Tatum donated two cheesecakes and both were auctioned off for over $200 each.

 “What keeps us afloat, our biggest asset, are our volunteers,” said Cathey Sweeney, executive director.

Sweeney said that more male volunteers would be appreciated as there are many teenage boys in need of male role models. If interested call the Wilson County CASA office.

There will be a weekend of training July 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Sweeney said it is the perfect opportunity to get the training done in three days and anyone is welcome.

“I got involved with Wilson County CASA two years ago. It was the most meaningful, rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. We are given a child that needs love and attention. They need someone to fight for them. If you join it will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do and you will also shed a lot of tears,” said volunteer Debbie Hobbs.

CASA is made up of volunteers who speak for children brought into the court system because of neglect in their home lives.

The Wilson County organization began serving children in 1989. They are one of 900 CASA programs all across the United States and internationally. They are currently serving almost 240 children in Wilson County and have gained about 70 volunteers.

The Department of Children’s Services along with attorneys generally have multiple cases at a time, but CASA volunteers are given no more than two cases to devote all their focus to. They are dedicated to learning about the family, the child and their case to advocate for them in court. Judge Barry Tatum appoints the CASA members.

The child’s stay in DCS custody could be reduced by half with the help of CASA volunteers.

“We stick with the child until they go through the entire process, often we’re the only consistency they have. Their DCS workers change, foster parents change, but we’re with the child through the whole process,” said Kristina Hibdon, CASA board member.

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