CASA Elves

Blairsville CASA Elves busy in 2006

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers are busy wrapping presents for Blairsville's foster children. These CASA "Elves" or "Santa's Helpers" spend many hours during the busiest time of the year to make Christmas an easier time for foster children and their families.

Started by Sherry Wendt and Pat Elliott over 5 years ago, the Christmas gift program grows bigger and better every year. Over 170 kids receive Christmas gifts. Requests range from jackets and new clothes to the latest gadgets and popular toys.

Elliott explains, "We send a Christmas wish list to every foster child in Union and Towns County. They fill in their clothes sizes and special wishes. Sponsors in the community shop for each child and wrap the presents. CASA members load up the gifts and distribute them to the foster parents about a week before Christmas. Special wishes and larger items are purchased with money donated to the program." Each child receives a variety of wrapped presents and usually at least one special item.

The CASA Christmas Program is made possible by the generosity of 10 to 15 hard-working volunteers and the outstanding support of the surrounding communities. CASA members are not paid or reimbursed for expenses. They donate their time, vehicles, and gas to advocate for the foster children. Every Christmas they shop, get presents ready and deliver them, too. Businesses and individuals that make donations get no public acknowledgement. One unidentified man says, "We do get blessings though. We get a warm glow in our hearts." (Who says men aren't romantics?)

2006 has been an extremely good year. The community has contributed many items including bicycles, games, DVD players, cameras, play stations, stereos, CD players, computers, sports equipment, clothes, and an array of toys. There's only one problem - space. "We really need a larger area. If anyone can let us use their facilities next year, please let us know. We only need it for about 2 weeks in December," a small request from Elliot as she wraps a pile of gifts. (With a whole year's notice, surely someone will offer up an appropriate location.)

Working with the Towns and Union DFCS offices, CASA is pleased to announce that it is expanding services to include a "Back to School" and "Foster Children Enrichment Program". These programs will help provide things such as new school clothes, class rings, senior photos, and prom dresses - things that foster families can't always afford. CASA volunteers would like to thank everyone in the community for supporting the Foster Children's Christmas Fund.

CASA Elves

CASA makes Christmas better for foster children in Blairsville and Hiawassee

CASA's elves are busy wrapping presents for the area's foster children. 2005 has been an extremely good year. People have purchased many items including bicycles, games, DVD players, cameras, game cubes, play stations, stereos, CD players, computers, printers, musical instruments, sports equipment, clothes, and even sewing machines.

This Christmas gift program is now in its fourth year. Started by Sherry Wendt and Pat Elliott, enthusiasm grows from year to year. Elliott explains, "We send a Christmas wish list to every foster child in Union and Towns County . They fill in their clothes sizes and special wishes. Sponsors in the community shop for each child and wrap the presents. CASA members pickup the gifts and distribute them to the foster parents about a week before Christmas."

Special wishes and larger items are sometimes purchased with money donated to the program. CASA members are volunteers. They donate their time, vehicles, and gas to get the presents ready. Then they deliver them!

Working with the Towns and Union DFCS offices, CASA is also planning a Christmas party for foster children and their foster families. It will be a great time with Santa, story reading, snacks, and special presents. CASA would like to dedicate their 2005 efforts in memory of Dominick Robetello. They would also like to thank everyone in the community for supporting the Foster Children's Christmas Fund.