By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Oklahoma County will host an Open House and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 23, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., celebrating their new office building at 1608 NW Expressway.
The program will feature special guest speakers Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Trevor Pemberton and County Commissioner Carrie Blumert.
The Open House and Ribbon-Cutting event is come-and-go, with some programming at the beginning of the event, at approximately 5 p.m. There will be tours of the facility and refreshments for guests.
The celebration will be held in conjunction with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders from the child welfare community.
“We can’t wait to host our amazing supporters from around the community and dedicate this phenomenal new space,” said CASA’s Executive Director Jennie Hill. “Having additional office space for staff and enhanced technology for trainees and volunteers will bolster our ability to advance advocacy services to foster youth in our county.
“We’re so thankful for the community’s support for over three decades – and we’re proud to share in the successes that have come from that support. The Oklahoma County community has made this move possible,” Hill added.
Since 1987, CASA of Oklahoma County has been headquartered on the third floor of the Juvenile Justice Center located at 5905 N Classen Ct Suite 202; in Oklahoma City.
The new space has been donated by Oklahoma County to ensure effective volunteer advocacy for Oklahoma County foster youth.
In order to continue program expansion, Lori and Jeff Blumenthal stepped forward to generously assist in providing expanded physical space. The Blumenthal Foundation acquired an existing building near the southwest corner of NW Expressway and North Blackwelder.
Numerous community partners came together to design and construct an effective space to expand training and advocacy services for area foster youth.
“Our new space is the result of key community supporters coming together to ensure a modern, effective physical space for continued growth of volunteer advocates serving Oklahoma County foster youth. We are forever grateful to Lingo Construction and The Small Group for their generous assistance on this project,” said Hill.
In the past fiscal year, CASA of Oklahoma County has seen a 90 percent increase in new volunteers. CASA volunteers complete a screening process and 30 hours of extensive training.
The volunteers are supported in their service by an Advocacy Supervisor who coaches the advocate in writing court reports, appearing in court, and participating in necessary meetings and visits. The volunteer advocate is never alone in their journey of service.
Those interested in volunteering with CASA can contact Director of Recruitment Kathy North at 405-594-3384. Those interested in donating to CASA can call Development Manager Charlie Ludden at 405-900-5663. CASA of Oklahoma County is a proud United Way Partner Agency.
CASA is located at 1608 NW Expressway, #101, Oklahoma City, OK 73118. For more information about CASA of Oklahoma County, visit OKCountyCASA.org. To learn more about other CASA programs around the state, visit the Oklahoma CASA Association website at oklahomacasa.org.