CHILD ADVOCATES of Northeast Oklahoma

CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH CONTINUES WITH PUMP’N PETES’ FUNDRAISER FOR CASA

April is Child Abuse Prevention month nationally, and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) has joined with Pump N Pete’s Corp of Erie on a pledge card fundraiser during April.  Pete’s operates 47 convenience stores and fuel stations in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma and the effort will benefit 5 CASA organizations in those same areas CASA of the 31st Judicial District, CASA of the 23rd and Bourbon County CASA in Kansas; Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma and Southwest Missouri Child Advocates.

“Pinwheels for Prevention – Partners for Children” is an easy, stress-free and fun way to help children in foster care.  Pete’s cashiers will ask you to donate and all you do is say YES!  You get to sign a Pinwheel Pledge Card and hang it in the store to commemorate your donation. If you donate $5 or more at one time you get a raffle ticket good for a chance at winning a $25 cash prize in each store and the winners from each store will go on to a GRAND PRIZE DRAWING at the end of April for $250 at the Pete’s Corporate Office in Parsons.

The funds raised are used to recruit, train, prepare and support Advocate Volunteers who are appointed by County Judges to help children who have been abused or neglected and found to be in need of care by the court.  The Advocates partner with the children, speak up for their best interest in court and guide them successfully through their time in foster care.  Once appointed, the CASA is always there for the child until he or she is released from custody.  Funds have also been used in emergencies to pay for athletics, music lessons, summer camp, winter coats, Christmas gifts, adoption gifts, life books, special equipment and special clothing for children in the CASA programs. CASA programs are non-profit and must raise their own funds.

The Pinwheel Fundraiser is in its sixth year and Pete’s Corporation has made it a competition between stores, area managers and district managers, even offering corporate incentives to all employees to do their best for CASA.  From there the managers and employees have gotten very creative and have taken the competition to heart!  All stores do something special or host an event to supplement the fundraiser and many do some truly zany things.  Several managers have taken cream pies to the face if the store reaches a set goal or offered to get dunked in a water tank for extra money; others have thrown a BBQ or pizza party when employees post so many pledge cards.  There were dueling bake sales between stores in the same town; car washes that got drowned by rain but continued anyway; body painting; dance-a-thons; characters greeting customers; lotto winnings donated by employees and customers and public competition to have the most pinwheels on the wall! In the end, CASA throws a luncheon party, awards a trophy and publicly recognizes the top fundraising Pump’n Pete’s Store in each state, both individually and at the following Pump’n Pete’s Corporate meeting at Parsons, KS.

CASA and Pump’n Pete’s invite everyone to join the fun and help unfortunate children at the same time. Children who did nothing wrong but wound up in foster care anyway. Donations to CASA are fully tax deductible and CASA is recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity by the IRS.

Nationally, April is known as Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to draw attention to a dark and troubling problem in our society.

Child abuse and neglect are all around us, whether we realize it or not. It lurks in our schools, churches, supermarkets, the cars passing us on the highway, and even next door. According to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, there were 811 substantiated claims of child abuse and neglect in the northeastern region of the state – Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, and Delaware counties – during the 2017 Fiscal Year. Thankfully, there are organizations like Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma – a court-appointed special advocate program – that are here to help.

Making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children is what Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma is all about. CANO encourages all individuals, companies, and organizations to think about the role they would like to play in making this region of the state safer and better for children and families.

“Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma just completed a successful expansion into the courts of the 13th Judicial District,” said Angela Henderson, Executive Director. “Our communities have shown time and again that they care about children. The best thing all of us can do is get involved and work together to strengthen families and work to prevent child abuse and neglect.”

How can you help? You can “Like” CANO’s Facebook page to stay current on what is happening with the organization. CANO’s “handle” on Facebook is @CANO4Kids.

If you’d like to become more involved or become like one of our volunteer “Superheroes for the Child,” sign up to become a court-appointed special advocate. It takes less than 30 minutes to fill out our application and sign up for a class. There is a consistent need for more volunteers to speak for children in the courtroom. Sharon Jensen, a Rogers County CASA volunteer said, “If I could have one wish it would be that there would be a CASA assigned to each and every abused and neglected child.”

If you can’t volunteer your time right now, make a contribution. Go to www.cano-casa.com and click on the “Donate” button. Your gift, in any amount, makes a world of difference as CANO serves as many children as possible. Also, this month, Pump’n Pete’s stores throughout Green Country are collecting donations for our CASA program. They would love to have your support, and there are prizes to be had. Visit your nearest location and make a contribution there.

“I’ve been the Executive Director of CASA for 15 years now,” said Henderson, “and I find the work personally and professionally fulfilling. Listening as a child tells me their story, playing cards or basketball (very badly) with them, speaking with caring family members, and then going to court and speaking up for these children has been the bright spot in this very rewarding work. When I look back over the children I’ve played just a small part in helping, I can’t help but be humbled and honored to be a part of starting a new and hopeful chapter in these children’s stories.”

Everyone reading this article can do something to help a child – whether it’s educating yourself, volunteering, or contributing to CASA. Our precious children need people in our community to care about them and stand behind them while shining a light on their situation.

There’s no better time to get involved. April is a great launching pad for raising awareness. Be on the lookout for other great organizations raising awareness and find one that aligns with your passions. Together, we can end child abuse and ensure that every child is in a safe, permanent, and nurturing home.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma Continues to be a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency Organization

Great news! Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma just earned the 2018 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. By sharing these metrics, we’re helping the sector move beyond simplistic financial ratios to assess nonprofit progress.

We chose to display quantitative metrics such as Program Goals, Past Results, and Budget to represent
how hard Child Advocates is working toward achieving our mission. Organizations and people who support our cause deserve to know their hard-earned dollars are being used in the best possible way. Having the Platinum Seal of Transparency is the best way for our donors to know we are serious about using funds in appropriate ways that further our cause and help children.

We’re proud to use GuideStar Platinum to share our full and complete story with the world. To reach
the Platinum level, we added extensive information to our Nonprofit Profile: basic contact and
organizational information, in-depth financial information, quantitative information about goals,
strategies, and progress toward our mission.

Area Walmarts Provide Community Grant Funding to Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma – CASA received a generous donation from the Claremore, Locust Grove, and Miami Walmarts. Through the Community Grant Program, Walmart associates are proud to support the needs of their communities by providing grants to local organizations. “Walmart believes in operating globally and giving back locally – creating impact in the neighborhoods where we live and work.”

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma is using the funds from Walmart to garner more support. Child Advocates has been recruiting for their upcoming volunteer training to begin March 2nd in Claremore. The training is open to anyone wanting to volunteer for the organization. Their goal is to provide a dedicated volunteer to speak up for every abused and neglected child throughout Northeast Oklahoma.

To learn more about the Walmart Foundation you can visit their website at http://giving.walmart.com/walmart-foundation/community-grant-program.

Arvest Bank in Miami Supports Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma – CASA received a generous donation from Arvest Bank in Miami. Arvest gives in order to support local organizations doing outstanding work to improve the quality of life in the communities they serve.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma is using the funds from Arvest to garner more support, especially in Ottawa County. So far, the efforts have worked. Since receiving the funding, Child Advocates has recruited and begun training the largest class of volunteers to date. Their goal is to provide a dedicated volunteer to speak up for every abused and neglected child throughout Northeast Oklahoma.

Ottawa County reported 130 cases of confirmed child abuse and or neglect in the 2018 Fiscal Year. The goal of Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma is to ensure that each of the children involved in these situations has a CASA volunteer by their side, giving them a voice for their best interest.

It is thanks to great businesses and people like Arvest that Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma can serve the need in Ottawa County. To learn more about Arvest Bank visit their website at https://www.arvest.com.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma Receives 3MGives Grant

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma – CASA received a generous donation from Ceradyne Inc., a 3M Company – Quapaw Site. Today, more than 60,000 3M products are used in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and other industries. Through its companywide initiative, 3M Gives, the company strives to improve lives and build sustainable communities.

3M’s charity is two-fold. First, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma received grant funding to further their volunteer recruitment and training. Second, 3M provided matching funds as an incentive for their employees to volunteer. Both avenues show the dedication of 3M to truly improve the communities they are rooted in.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma, as stated above, is using the funds from 3M to garner more support, especially in Ottawa County. So far, the efforts have worked. Since receiving the funding, Child Advocates has recruited and begun training the largest class of volunteers to date. Their goal is to provide a dedicated volunteer to speak up for every abused and neglected child throughout Northeast Oklahoma.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma would like to encourage you to check with your company for the availability of grants and funding. Often times, funding that could greatly impact our community goes unnoticed and therefore untapped. Check with your HR representative and help a local non-profit that you are passionate about.

To learn more about 3M, visit their website at https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/gives-us/.

April is just around the corner and that means many things are on the horizon. April is a mostly joyous month as we emerge from the dreary winter months into warmer weather, some sunshine, and of course those showers that will yield May flowers. April starts with a joke and concludes in piety. Overall, April is a month of new beginnings and hope.

April has another side, however. Just as the longer days give more light, April is a month designated to shedding light on a different type of darkness. April is nationally known as Child Abuse Awareness month, a darkness that needs to be exposed and overcome.

The dark reality of child abuse is all around us whether we accept the fact or not. It hides in our schools, churches, and even next door. The gruesome reality is according to OKDHS, there were 811 substantiated claims of child abuse and neglect in our corner of the state during the 2017 Fiscal Year. That covers Craig, Delaware, Mayes, Ottawa, and Rogers counties. Something has to change. A light needs to shine in this darkness.

This month and throughout the year, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma – CASA encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Northeast Oklahoma a better place for children and families.

“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Angela Henderson, Executive Director of Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma – CASA. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”

If you would like to take another step towards ending child abuse, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma is always in need of more volunteers and supporters. There is a constant need for volunteers to speak for children in the courtroom. Sharon Jensen, a Rogers County volunteer said, “If I could have one wish it would be that there would be a CASA assigned to each and every abused and neglected child.”

The darkness of child abuse is a harsh reality that is tempting to ignore. These precious children, however, desperately need people in our community to stand up for them and shine a light on their situation. April is a great launching pad as we raise awareness. Be on the lookout for other great organizations raising awareness and find one that aligns with your passions. Together, we can end child abuse and ensure that every child is in a safe and loving home.