HOLBROOK  — Last weekend, the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, CASA of Navajo County, hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of the program’s child advocates. Volunteers joined together at Celebrations of Generations in Snowflake, where they enjoyed dinner, entertainment by a barbershop quartet and a celebratory cake designed specifically for the CASA program.

“Our CASA volunteers work tirelessly to protect and advocate for the children in our community,” said Kirk Grugel, program coordinator for CASA of Navajo County. “This is the first time in many years that we have been able to acknowledge and celebrate their efforts, and that is because of the generosity of our community partners. We are so grateful to Jill Tinkel from State Farm Insurance, Navajo County Friends of CASA and the Arizona Lottery for their incredible support in making this event possible.”

“The Arizona Lottery is proud to fund many beneficiaries in Arizona, including the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA),” said Jeff Hatch-Miller, executive director for the Arizona Lottery. “Here at the Lottery, we recognize the tremendous work of the CASA advocates and by sponsoring the CASA volunteer recognition events throughout the state; we are applauding their dedication and efforts to the abused and neglected children in their care.”

There are currently 153 children in Navajo County that have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, and 21 dedicated CASA volunteers who advocate for these children in court. Additional advocates are urgently needed in Navajo County to continue to perform this important work for children in the foster care system.

CASA volunteers serve as critical figures in the lives of children who have suffered from abuse or neglect. After receiving special training and being appointed by a judge, CASA volunteers gather all of the information involving a child’s case, and make formal recommendations to the court on the child’s behalf. As a result, children with a CASA volunteer spend less time in foster care and receive better access to support and services.

“Our CASA advocates are literally impacting the lives of these children for a lifetime. We as a community are so genuinely thankful for their time and commitment, and we know their efforts are invaluable. If you save a child, you save a generation,” said Grugel.

For more information on CASA of Navajo County, or to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate, contact Kirk Grugel at (928) 524-4134 or visit the website at www.CASAofNavajoCounty.org

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