CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of the Ouachita Region will have a “Wings of Love” event Saturday, July 19, in Janssen Park from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., or until the wings run out. The friendly competition will be a buffalo wing cook-off between Phyllis Bell and Drew Fox. Both are hailed as having the best buffalo wings in the county.
CASA of the Ouachita Region is a special organization with a special mission: to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the court system. With the belief that every child is entitled to a safe, permanent home, they recruit, train and supervise volunteers to serve as a child’s advocate in court. CASA is a nationwide organization with approximately 77,000 volunteers across the United States, each one dedicated to the children they serve.
CASA of the Ouachita Region is a 501(c)(3) organization that serves every single child in the foster system in Polk and Montgomery Counties. Governed by a Board of Directors comprised of eight members of the local community and managed day to day by the Program Director, Cynthia Martin and the Assistant Director, Renee Hendrix, the organization trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children. “When a child is brought into foster care they are given a CASA volunteer who will stay with them until the child has found permanence, either by adoption, or with another family member or by being placed back in their home, after their parents have completed their program. CASA volunteers undergo five background checks and thirty hours of training before they are sworn in by the judge. They then meet with the children regularly, as well as anyone associated with the case: parents, teachers, doctors, foster parents. There is a court order signed by the judge that allows the volunteer to be privy to most private information so that when the time comes for the case to go to court, the volunteer is able to write a report documenting the child and parents’ progress and their recommendation for that child,” explained Martin. “We are the judge’s ‘eyes and ears’.”
The event is free; however, donations are being accepted. All proceeds will go towards CASA of the Ouachita Region to help the little ones. If you are unable to attend, you can still donate by visiting www.eventbrite.com/ or to get your free voting form for the event. You can also visit their Facebook page by searching ‘Wings of Love’.