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CASA of Kent County celebrates 30-year anniversary

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CASA of Michigan
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CASA of Kent County celebrates 30-year anniversary

CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children living in foster care.

CASA of Kent County is celebrating 30 years of service in 2022. The nonprofit, which advocates the needs of children in the child protection system, said it's a time to spread awareness and growth.

“Not enough people understand the plight of children in foster care, and not enough people know CASA exists to support and advocate for those children," Executive Director, Stephanie Sheler said.

CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children living in foster care.

“In my experience with CASA, the CASA volunteer and judge are the only consistent people throughout the whole case," Steve Quakkelar a volunteer with CASA of Kent County said. "In this child’s life that has been severely interrupted, we are the one consistency that they can count on, that they can confide in, that they know someone is on their side even though it feels like everything is stacked against them.”

Sheler said upon CASA of Kent County's 30th "birthday," the group is working to raise awareness, funds and volunteers. In the past decade, the organization has served about 220 children per year. With a diverse pool of children in Kent County's foster system, Sheler explained the group is looking hopes to find volunteers to reflect those backgrounds.

"When we think about children who are in foster care, they come from all different backgrounds, all different parts of town, all different races, all different ethnicities, all different experiences," She said. "We are always looking for a diverse group of volunteers. Right now the majority of our volunteers are women, so we definitely need more male CASA volunteers...we certainly are also looking for volunteers who are People of Color."

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