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Christina Stock Photo Carrie-Leigh Cloutier, Chaves County CASA program executive director, poses with Zia, CASA courthouse facility dog, in this file photo from 2019.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Chaves County CASA fundraiser returns in a different format

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

Carrie-Leigh Cloutier, executive director of the Chaves County CASA program, has been worried about the children in the community that were not able to go to school due to the pandemic. “At any time we are serving about 500 kids. What we are seeing is a serious increase in violence against children, a lot of abuse that has been hidden. We are beginning to see a spike in referrals that is really very tragic,” she said.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization which supports and gives a voice to the abused and neglected children along with their families. Advocates help the children who might have to go to court to talk about the abuse they’ve endured, a traumatic situation for adults and more so for children. Chaves County CASA offers services beyond the court, including play therapy, visitation — as much as possible during the pandemic — family support and of course, the courthouse facility dogs who comfort the children at court.

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“We are back on schedule because we have so much support and the community really understands how bad the child abuse situation is right now,” Cloutier said. “So we are going forward with our traditional date of the last Friday in April, which is April 30. But this year, it (Make Time for Kids) is going to be a little different because of the pandemic.”

Cloutier said a virtual silent auction opened up on April 15; however many of the high-quality prizes will only be available on April 30. “The person who won the Mercedes last year donated it back. We will be raffling off the Mercedes convertible again, which is exciting, for $100 a ticket.

“The other thing we’re doing is we’re going to have a live auction this year in person. But because we have to limit the number of people coming, it will be at The Liberty on the 30th, the tickets will be $250 each, because we can only invite 125 people. Usually we have 500 people, all food and drinks will be included in that. It is a steep price, but we think people are willing to pay it because they believe in us,” Cloutier said.

However, those who can’t get a ticket still will be able to participate, according to Cloutier. “We invite everybody to join us online and for our silent auction,” she said. “We will be showing the live auction on Facebook and anybody who wants to bid on something but can’t be there in person, can just call in their proxy bid earlier in the evening. We’ll have exciting things like a trip to Costa Rica, and a gun safe and all sorts of exciting things.”

Cloutier said it had been a difficult year for the organization, but her hopes are high that once their second annual fundraiser, Winter Wonderland, comes along, they can have that event for a bigger group.

The link for the donation and event website and updates on the event will be posted on Facebook @chaves.casa. For more information, visit casakids.org or call 575-625-0112.

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