2018 CASA Fund-a-Child Family L-R: Kevin, Noah and Cindy Vest. Photo courtesy of Connie McNabb, CC Photos for a Cause
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- The 23rd Annual CASA Speaks for Kids Gala was held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott and Convention Center on Saturday, February 10, 2018.
More than 600 guests filled the Grand Ballroom this year. Presented by Richard and Sherry Lane, the annual event benefits children in foster care through CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County.
The theme for the Gala was “Enchanted! A Masquerade Ball”. CASA Executive Director, Ann McAlpin, explained the theme chosen for the annual fundraiser helped create a celebratory atmosphere while drawing attention to a very serious cause. "We wanted guests to wear their masks and create their own magic at this fantastic event. The Gala is truly a party with a purpose,” McAlpin continued, “For abused and neglected children in foster care in Montgomery County, they create their own masks - masks they hope will protect them, masks they need to survive. That’s where CASA Advocates come in. They look out for the child’s best interests, for the best possible future outcome, and help the child reclaim his or her life from abuse and neglect."
The highlight of the evening was the Fund-a-Child presentation, which featured CASA Advocate, Rina French, and former foster youth, Noah. French stood beside Noah through numerous challenges and a failed adoption; she fought and succeeded in placing Noah with the family who would eventually adopt him, his “forever family”.
2018 CASA Gala Chair, Joni Barker, and the committee worked for almost a year to pull together a night to remember. Barker was honored during the program for her long-standing patronage of CASA, serving as the Gala Co-Chair for one year before serving as the Gala Chair for the past 4 years. Past Board Chair, Jim Funke, was also honored for his years of service and support.
The Gala featured live and silent auctions, as well as crowd-pleasing games, including a Kendra Scott jewelry pull and a wine pull. Actor/producer Carl Ducena served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies with support from Ky Bishop of Strike LLC, CASA Board Chair, Judy Olson, and McAlpin. Professional auctioneer, Patrick J. Kelly, entertained and enchanted all. Guests then danced the night away to the music of DJ Andrew Madonio.
Proceeds raised at the Gala benefit abused and neglected children through CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County. It costs approximately $1,500 to provide a volunteer Advocate for one child for one year. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) speak up for the best interests of children who have been removed from their parents and are under the Court's jurisdiction. CASA’s goal is to continue to provide a court-appointed volunteer to serve as Guardian ad Litem for every child in the foster care system, and to break the cycle of abuse. For the past 25 years, CASA has been training volunteers, raising awareness in the community, and working to stop the cycle of child abuse in Montgomery County.
"The work that our CASA volunteers do on a daily basis is life-changing. They serve as the voice for children whose future is uncertain, and they are making a difference, one child at a time,” McAlpin continues, “Currently, more than 6 children are entering foster care in Montgomery County every week. Proceeds from this event will help CASA provide more than 270 abused and neglected children with Advocates this year.”
For more information about CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County or the 2018 CASA Gala, visit the website at www.CASASpeaks4Kids.com/gala or call (936) 441-5437.