Gina Law is Executive Director for Lake Country Casa, headquartered in Sulphur Springs at 216 Connally Street. For more than 25 years, the Cookie Walk has been the sole fundraiser for the non-profit Court Appointed Special Advocate. Gina, her staff and volunteers will stage the Cookie Walk on Friday December 1 in the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church starting at 9am. You can select homemade Christmas cookies of all types at $5 per pound. One word of caution..don’t arrive late! Even with more than two dozen volunteers on the baking committee, the morning’s supply of homemade cookies still sells out quickly!
In a KSST Morning Show interview, Gina shed some light on what CASA does, the job description and the urgent need for qualified, trained CASA volunteers. Originally formed in 1976, the organization operates through volunteers who serve, one on one, as a constant familiar face for a child caught up in the child protective legal system due to abuse and/or neglect in the home. The first Texas chapter was formed in 1979, and a Hopkins County chapter began work 27 years ago with Eddie Jo Edge as Executive Director. Later, taking in Rains and Franklin County cases, the organization became Lake Country CASA, where Gina Law has served as director for 18 years. She and her staff; Sharla Evans, Peggy Walker and Sherry Jordan are headquartered in offices in downtown Sulphur Springs. A board of directors lends business expertise to the success of the organization. Lake Country CASA functions through grants, United Way funding, private donations and the Cookie Walk fundraiser.
In 2017, some 26 local volunteers have handled 134 cases total, with 80 of these involving Hopkins County children. These individual volunteers appointed by a judge not only monitor the progress of the case but have oversight of special services such as counseling, medical, educational, transportation, safety and other issues for the long-term welfare of the child. Judges typically assign CASA volunteers to the most difficult and complex cases involving physical or sexual abuse and neglect.
Lake Country CASA is seeking volunteers who can be committed to their assignment. Each case typically lasts one to two years, and the amount of time spent on a case per month averages 10 hours. In many cases, these children may eventually return to their home, be placed with another family member or find a foster home or adoptive family. In order to help achieve this goal and provide quality advocacy, volunteers must make case time a priority. If you are interested in finding out more, contact Gina Law at 903-885-1173 or see her at the Lake Country CASA office, 216 Connally Street, downtown Sulphur Springs.