HANNIBAL – The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Holiday Bazaar Nov. 16 at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center not only raised funds for the CASA program to help foster children, it offered information about becoming a CASA volunteer.
This is very important, according to CASA Director Jared Moore, who also leads the Kids in Motion and Teens in Motion programs as youth services director at Douglass Community Services.
“We are not just here to make money with the entrance and vendors' fees,” Moore said.
He is seeking more CASA volunteers and hopes within the next two years to double the number serving the three counties (Marion, Ralls and Monroe) in the 10th Judicial Circuit.
The district now has 30 CASA volunteers who serve 60 children. However, the area has 280 foster children, Moore said, so more are needed.
CASA volunteers are court-appointed for individual children who do not have someone to represent them, he said.
A CASA worker spends from eight to 10 hours a month with the child, and appears in court to represent them, with the goal being getting the child into a safe, permanent home.
Each Casa is assigned to one or two children, but some have up to four siblings, Moore said. A CASA volunteer has 32 hours of training and is sworn in by the judge.
“What is unique is they are the only ones in the courtroom who are advocating just for that child and the child's interests,” Moore said. “They build a relationship. A lot of times CASA is the only stable relationship with that child.”
To learn more about CASA, contact Moore at DCS, 711 Grand Ave., or by calling 573-221-3892.
Moore noted that TIM members were helping at the bazaar. “They helped set up the Christmas trees and the kids' area and greeted people at the door.”
He was pleased with the number of vendors who participated in the bazaar, reporting they came from distances including Jacksonville, Ill.; Keokuk, Iowa; and Jefferson City, Mo.
Some vendors were also publicizing other fundraisers, including Kathy Butler, community coordinator with Marion County Services for the Developmentally Disabled. She was selling handmade Christmas cards drawn by members of the Hannibal Area Aktion Club, who are age 18 and over.
While families shopped at the bazaar, children met Santa. After posing for photos with Charlotte Krisko and Annabelle Downing, Santa was asked what children are wanting this year. He was glad to report some want world peace.
Boys were asking for trucks and computers, Santa said, while girls had requested jeans, My Little Pony and one wants a horse. Girls also want makeup, Santa said, but he believes they are too young for it.
Some children were helping their parents sell items at the bazaar, such as Asher Wellman of New London, selling soap made by his mother, Kelsey Ryan.
Roberta Hubbard was both wearing and buying more scrunchies for her hair. The vendor was Debbie Adams of Bowling Green, whose booth featured “scrap catchers,” little hangers that could hold a TV remote or other item.
Patriotic items were sold by Kenny Franks of Quincy, Ill., who has been making patriotic plaques for 30 years and decided his favorite honors the Marines. He plans to come to Hannibal and sell them in Central Park next year during National Tom Sawyer Days.
Handmade jewelry was a common item at the booths, where Faye Dant was examining jewelry made by Tami Weber of Canton, Ill. Weber was explaining her necklaces are magnetic and can be changed to different sizes.
See photo gallery for more pictures of the CASA Holiday Bazaar.