2013: Come To The Table For CASA

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Chautauqua County, Inc. has announced its fifth annual Come to the Table for the Best Interest of a Child fundraising event.

Want to help children in your area and have fun with friends at the same time? Come to the Table – a fundraiser in its fifth successive year at CASA – showcases decorated tables, available for bid or outright purchase. This event allows local designers, as well as creative community members, business and organizations, to showcase their talents by creating their own themed table setting designs to be sold by live auction at the event.

Last year’s tables provided a stunning display for the community, teasing the eye with a full spectrum of color and a wide variety of creative inspiration. With 31 custom-designed and largely diverse tables, there was something for everyone. From hockey and sports enthusiasts, gardeners, Lucy fans, wine connoisseurs, individuals looking for getaways and outdoor lovers; there is a little something for everyone.

This year, the event will be held on Thursday, May 9, with table viewing beginning at 4 p.m. and the live auctioning taking place at 7 p.m. at the Chautauqua Suites Inn and Conference Center in Mayville. The evening will feature musical entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, basket auction and a fun and festive atmosphere as guests enjoy viewing and placing bids on their favorite tables. Registrations are now being accepted for individuals, businesses or groups to design tables for this year’s event. The agency is also still accepting sponsors.

One of the returning designers commented, “It’s a fun and unique way to advertise my business, as well as provide monies for a very worthy cause. Our community’s children are our future, and we need to invest in our future.”

Come to the Table supports the local CASA program while providing exceptional visibility and recognition for individuals and businesses that create and sponsor tables for the event. Designers may solicit sponsors for their table entry or be the designer and sponsor themselves. All sponsors and exhibitors will receive recognition at the event. Table designs are a tax-deductible donation, and all proceeds benefit programs for abused and neglected children within our local community.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Chautauqua County, Inc. relies on highly trained volunteers who are appointed by a family court judge in Chautauqua County to speak up for children in court.

These volunteers talk with the child, parents, family, relevant agencies, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. CASA volunteers also speak with involved attorneys and case workers. The volunteer then compiles all of the information and records gathered and provides the judge with a report on their findings. With the information provided by the CASA volunteer, judges are better able to make informed decisions as to what is best for the child, choosing options such as returning to their parents, foster care or adoption.

While CASA volunteers do not provide legal advice or representation – that role is filled by the attorney for the Child – they do provide crucial background information that can assist these attorneys in representing their young clients.

Research shows that children who have been assigned a CASA volunteer tend to spend less time in court and the foster care system than those who do not have CASA representation. Unfortunately, only one in four abused or neglected children in our service area currently has an assigned advocate. Money raised by the program is used to fulfill CASA’s mission of supporting and promoting court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so that they can thrive in safe, permanent homes.

“The Come to the Table event has become our major fundraiser of the year, and we encourage designers to register to do a table design early,” said Kathy Park, program director of CASA of Chautauqua County, Inc. “Several designers from the past Come to the Table events have already committed to creating table designs again this year.”

For further information about volunteering with the local CASA program, or for a registration packet for the event, contact the CASA offices at 753-4123 or email casaofchautauqua@roadrunner.com.