FROM STAFF REPORTS
KINGSLAND — In June, a flood at the CASA for the Highland Lakes Area office felt as if the Grinch was getting a head start on ruining Christmas for the youth with whom the organization works.
The rainwater destroyed or damaged many of the items the staff and volunteers had set aside for the kids’ Christmas gifts.
Though they’ve been able to replace a few, CASA for the Highland Lakes staff and volunteers are hoping residents and businesses will become angels for the many local youth in foster care. Security State Bank and Trust, 608 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls, has set up CASA’s Angel Tree in its foyer where people can stop by, pick an angel and buy an age- and gender-appropriate toy as described on the angel.
It’s a simple act that can help change a child’s life.
CASA, short for Court Appointed Special Advocates, provides specially trained volunteers or staff who act as the voices of children removed from their homes by Child Protective Services. Sometimes, this means placing a child somewhere unfamiliar. Coupled with being away their immediate families, these children may face a Christmas wondering if everybody — even Santa Claus — has forgotten about them.
CASA volunteers are one of the few constants in children’s lives during this period and, along with all the other things the advocates work toward, ensuring each child has a gift for Christmas is one of them. And this is where the Angel Tree comes in.
Officials are asking for a donation of new and unwrapped toys and gifts. Another option is gift cards. It might sound rather basic to many people, but shopping for themselves has a special meaning for kids in foster care, especially those in middle school and high school.
“A gift card allows them an opportunity to pick out a gift they can truly call their own,” said Galyn Woerner, the CASA advocate coordinator. “Something as simple as shopping can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling for a foster child.”
Angels can be picked up through November, and officials are asking people to drop off those gifts and gift cards at the location they picked up the angel by Dec. 5.
People can also drop off gifts and gift cards at the CASA for the Highland Lakes office, 1719 Ridgeview in Kingsland, on weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Woerner said businesses interested in hosting a CASA Angel Tree can also contact her or the CASA staff at (325) 388-3440. CASA for the Highland Lakes Area serves children in Burnet, Blanco, Llano, Lampasas and San Saba counties.
And if you want to be a real CASA angel, consider volunteering as an advocate or in other ways. For information on volunteering, also contact Woerner at the number previously listed.