|Jewish executive director earns top Nonprofit Leadership Award|
|Thursday, May 03 2012 11:00|
Jackson County CASA, led by Executive Director Martha Gershun, has received the 2012 Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Award. CASA was honored for being a high performing agency with a budget of $1 million or less. The award, given by Support Kansas City, recognizes Gershun’s “strong fiscal management and sound strategic focus.”
Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) staff and volunteers serve as advocates for abused and neglected children in the court system. Studies show that having a CASA volunteer involved will improve the quality of the outcome for the child. CASA children are usually in the system for less time and are less likely to be re-abused. Every dollar spent on CASA yields $23 in savings in the foster care and family court systems. Jackson County CASA will advocate for more than 900 children in 2012 — an increase of 10 percent over last year.
Under Gershun’s leadership, Jackson County CASA’s Light of Hope benefit has become Greater Kansas City’s largest breakfast fundraising event with more than 1,000 in attendance. Last year, Jackson County CASA purchased the historic home that houses its offices just a few doors from Jackson County Family Court. The purchase provided the agency with an ideally located permanent site and freed funds to serve more children.
There is a tremendous need for CASA volunteers to serve the dramatically increased number of children being abused/neglected in our area. CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the family court system. Through contact with the child, family members and other interested parties, a CASA volunteer provides critical information to the judge, so the best possible decisions can be made regarding where that child should live and what services they need.
While each case is different, a CASA volunteer usually spends about 10 hours a month meeting with the children, speaking with others involved, and attending meetings or court hearings. It takes a few hours a month to have a large impact on the life of a child — hours can be completed within the limits of even the most hectic schedule.
For information about volunteering, visit www.casakc.org or call 816-984-8204.