April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and a great time to volunteer as a CASA.

Pinwheel casa

As part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 300 pinwheels will be planted at Family Court to symbolize the more than 3,200 children in our community who face abuse and neglect and are receiving services under the supervision of Family Court. Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers and those who want to help kids are invited to join the pinwheel planting at the Eighth Judicial District Family Court flagpole on April 7 from 10-11:30 a.m. at  601 N. Pecos Road. The pinwheel plant will visually depict the free spirit that kids should enjoy and encourage those who see it that they are needed as volunteers to advocate for children in foster care.

“Almost everyone loves pinwheels. They’re fun; and in this case, we hope the pinwheels will remind people of the many children who deserve to live free from abuse and neglect, and to just be kids.” said Family Court Judge Frank Sullivan, who oversees the CASA program. “By volunteering just a few hours a week to serve as a CASA, volunteers can make the difference of a lifetime for a child.”

The CASA program recruits, screens, trains and supports volunteers to represent the best interests of hundreds of foster children annually. There are currently around 325 CASA volunteers who serve as a voice for those children. The advocates represent the children in school, child and family team meetings, and in court. Volunteering for the program involves a two-year commitment and a willingness to spend quality time with the children to advocate for them. In 1980, Judge John Mendoza led the creation of the Clark County CASA Program. The CASA mission continues to be fully supported by Family judges.

“Our hope is that those passing the pinwheel display think about the children who need someone and take the step to volunteer. For each of the 300 pinwheels, there are more than 10 children who need a Court Appointed Special Advocate to volunteer to speak on their behalf,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “CASA’s give children in foster care a very important and much needed voice.”

For those interested in volunteering with CASA, monthly orientations are held on the third Wednesday of each month to provide more information about the program. Upcoming orientations will be held at the Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy. For more information about the program please call 702-455-4306, visit www.casalasvegas.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/CASALasVegas.