STILLWATER, Okla. — Liz Hurst Metcalf is a member of the CASA Board of Directors and is chairwoman of volunteer appreciation. The organization’s annual fundraiser is at 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Payne County Expo Center.
1. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. What exactly is CASA and what does it do?
CASA is a nonprofit organization that provides a voice to abused and neglected children who are in our court systems. CASAs are trained community volunteers appointed by a judge to speak up for abused and neglected children in court. The help of these special volunteers is vital to children who often times become lost in an overburdened child welfare system.
2. How important is an organization like this in the community of Stillwater and Payne County?
It is crucial for abused children, who can often be “lost” in the system. There are 28 volunteers advocating for 50 children. There are 10 children waiting and we are looking for more volunteers. Our volunteers come from all walks of life. We provide free training.
3. How does the Payne County CASA get its funding and what kind of a budget and staff does it have?
We are funded by generous and giving people right here in our community and by a few grants. We only host one fundraiser a year, which is where the majority of our budget comes from. CASA is a United Way agency and we appreciate the funding that we receive from United Way. CASA has suffered numerous funding cuts and we are trying to look for other funding sources so we can keep our doors open. Our full-time staff consists of three people. Our director, Carmen Miller, has been with CASA for almost 14 years; we have two case supervisors, Trisha Glenn, who has also been with CASA almost 14 years, and Jen Smith who was previously a CASA volunteer. We have two quarter-time ladies who help in the office, Jamie Logan and Glenna Huff. Glenna is also a CASA volunteer. We have 17 members on our Board of Directors and are looking to fill three seats.