CASA of Lancaster County uses chalk to raise awareness of neglected youth

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 9:48 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In the state of Nebraska, more than 2,000 children are considered neglected and in need of care, according to Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA for Lancaster County.

The non-profit’s goal has been to recruit, train and support community volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in juvenile courts.

As of September 2021, 111 volunteers have advocated for 255 neglected children in Lancaster County, CASA said. Each volunteer builds a relationship with child in an effort to find them the best situation possible. In order to keep doing that, CASA has put out a call for volunteers.

“You’re getting moved, you have multiple caseworkers, you have all kinds of things happening in your life,” CASA for Lancaster County Executive Director, Dawn Rockey said of the children they help. “To have somebody that’s there because they want to be and to have one person that’s focused on you and what you need.”

Since it’s inception in 1999, the Lancaster County group has helped more than 1,400 kids, Rockey said, ultimately helping about 50% of children in the system. But their goal has always been to serve more.

On Wednesday, September 15, they’re setting up a competition outside The Mill at 21st & K to raise awareness and support CASA’s mission.

From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the statewide chalk art competition, Chalk it up for CASA will take place outside The Mill, where several artists will draw their sketches. Each drawing will support CASA’s mission and their growing need for volunteers.

CASA is encouraging the public to stop by and learn more about their mission. They’re in constant need for volunteers so every kid whose experienced abuse or neglect can be safe, have a permanent home and be given the opportunity to live out their dreams.

The chalk art will be displayed throughout the weekend, and anyone can stop by and to draw on the sidewalks to support CASA.

“Hundreds of children are in the system, whether it be the child welfare system or the juvenile justice system who need somebody on their side, somebody advocating for what’s in their best interest,” Rockey said. “That’s what we want to call attention to and we’re hoping that this is something different, and help get a little bit of acknowledgement.”

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