Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Merced County will hold a Wild West Hoedown in Los Banos on Oct. 22 and will include dancing, prize drawings, old-fashioned photos and the fiddle music of Tim Johnson & The Sierra Cowboy Riders.
The event’s emcee will be County Supervisor Jerry O’Banion.
“This is going to be a fantastic evening with plenty of fun,” said Merced County CASA Board President Nancy Young-Bergman. “At the same time, we want to educate the county’s Westside about the important work CASA is doing, raise some needed funds for our challenged youth, and hopefully find some new volunteers from the area.”
CASA is a national nonprofit that assists abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge to ensure children have an advocate in the court system and to help make sure they are placed in a safe home with an appropriate family, CASA said in a news release. Doors open for the hoedown at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6. It will be held at the Delta Party Barn, 14816 Bisignani Road. Tickets cost $35 a person and must be bought in advance by calling (209) 722-2272. A table for eight can be bought for $350 and sponsorships are also available for businesses wishing to partner with CASA.
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The Merced County CASA program began less than a year ago. It has since graduated two classes of advocates and moved its headquarters into its own office building with training and conference rooms.
Advocates serve a critical role in the lives of neglected and abused children by assisting them as they navigate the court system and ensuring that their desires and needs are well understood by decision makers, the news release said. Advocates also serve as role models for the children. Among Merced County CASA’s current volunteer advocates are retired undersheriff and current Merced City Councilman Bill Blake and former County Supervisor Mike Nelson.
All funding raised during the hoedown will remain in Merced County and go directly to support the training of child advocates. Each advocate’s training requires up to a minimum of 40 hours before beginning their casework with children.
“It takes a unique individual to take on this kind of work,” said Shar Herrera, executive director of the Merced County CASA. “We have received overwhelming support in Merced and it is time to expand our network of services and advocates to areas including Los Banos, Gustine and Dos Palos. The simple fact is that child abuse knows no boundaries.”--Sun-Star staff