Area CASA program awarded $32,000 grant

Bluebonnet CASA, Inc. recently received notification that they have been awarded a grant by the Meadows Foundation in the amount of $32,160. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Bluebonnet group represents McCulloch, Mason, Menard and Kimble Counties. The four-county group is still a relative newcomer to Central Texas, but already has made remarkable differences for many youngsters in the area. The 10 current volunteers are assigned to cases serving 21 children, and “They hope to have 25 volunteers by the end of the year to handle even more cases,” said Bluebonnet CASA spokesperson Debbie Vickers. According to Bluebonnet CASA director Marnelle Ruthven, the case-load tends to increase dramatically during the summer and early fall, so the additional volunteer force will be needed. Statistical figures show that each volunteer saves McCulloch County and the State of Texas over $18,000 per abused/neglected child or sibling group. Volunteers work with children in Child Protective Services (CPS) custody and are often with them until they “age out” of the system or are emancipated by resolution of the situation. “The Meadows grant, along with $8,000 raised in the local Million Pennies Campaign, goes a long way toward helping Bluebonnet CASA with its financial needs, but the search for additional funding is ongoing,” said Ruthven. “The next volunteer training class is scheduled for September of this year, and the training is costly in terms of materials and trainee resources. Additionally, volunteers must complete 12 hours of ongoing training per year to remain active.” The securing of the Meadows grant places the Bluebonnet CASA in a small, but select group of beneficiaries of that foundation. The foundation endowment was started by Algur Meadows of the General American Oil Company and now boasts assets of over $800 million. Over $430 million has been distributed to more than 2,000 Texas institutions and agencies by the foundation. The Meadows Foundation seeks out programs and services that employ imaginative, innovative ways to solve community problems through projects leading to organizational self-sufficiency and in capital plans that enable agencies to flourish. Locally, the Odeon Preservation Association in Mason has also been the recipient of a Meadows Foundation grant.

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