Palooza deemed a success

ROME CITY -- Recently, a crowd gathered for CASA Palooza, an event to raise money and awareness for children involved in judicial proceedings. Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) works with children to petition for their best interests and to improve their quality of life. 

The nonprofit's only annual fundraiser was held April 24 at Sylvan Cellars Event Center in Rome City and was the fifth year of its kind.

"Every year I am amazed at the generosity of the hundreds of businesses and individuals who donate to our cause. Most of you will receive nothing in return other than our sincere gratitude, " said Kristi Bachman, executive director. "Know that you helped to better the lives of children in Northeast Indiana. I wish you many blessings in return."

Contributions raised during CASA Palooza will support the agency's recruitment and training efforts. The nonprofit's ultimate goal is to provide skillfully trained volunteer advocates for each and every abused, neglected or at risk child in the court system. Northeastern Indiana CASA serves five counties: Noble, DeKalb, Whitley, Steuben and Lagrange. 

"We focus on the safety and permanency for every child," said Bachman. "Currently we are serving more than 200 children, and approximately 30 children are waiting for CASA representation."

Advocates are needed, and volunteers complete an application, interview and training process before beginning their work with children. 

"It's a bit of a process to get started," Bachman said. "However, for many children involved in judicial proceedings, their CASA advocate will be the one constant adult presence in their lives."

CASA Palooza generated financial support through ticket sales, but also through live and silent auctions. Several caterers were on hand to offer attendees a sampling of their menu.

"It's a fun night and very entertaining," said Bachman. "We are very grateful for all the auction items that were donated and for the restaurants and caterers that offered all the great food. This event wouldn't be possible if it wasn't them for all of their involvement."

More information can be found on CASA's website at www.neincasa.net and donations can still be made to support the cause.