CASA of the Midlands and Fremont High School have come together to construct a children’s playhouse to benefit the nonprofit.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.
CASA of the Midlands provides best interest advocacy for children under the supervision of the court due to abuse or neglect. Advocates who volunteer for CASA of the Midlands are tasked with giving a voice to vulnerable children.
The playhouse was built in an attempt to raise awareness for the need of more volunteer advocates in Dodge County, as well as surrounding counties.
Raffle tickets can be purchased at the Dodge, Saunders and Washington County fairs this summer with a winner being drawn in September.
The funds raised during the project will help further CASA of the Midlands’ ability to recruit, train and assign volunteer advocates to children in the area.
Every year, between 80-100 children are supervised by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and many are placed in foster care. CASA advocates ensure that children have a voice in court, and help end a cycle of system involvement, according to a Thursday FPS press release.
Happy Aldana, executive director of CASA of the Midlands, said the project began with Christensen Lumber, who then referred the nonprofit to FHS.
“We are just thrilled and hope to do it every year,” she told the Fremont Tribune. “It is just a way for us to raise awareness and so much needed funding, but also to give back. So we’re excited to raffle it off at the end of the summer.”
Aldana said she hopes the project helps continue to raise awareness for CASA of the Midlands as it continues to build its volunteer base.
There are 32 volunteers between the two counties, with the majority of volunteers serving in Dodge County.
“We just never have enough volunteers and that’s what we hope we are able to get out of this,” Aldana said. “We could really use around 30 more volunteers, so that’s our goal is to just make sure that every child has an advocate.”
The playhouse was built from the ground up thanks to the work from students at FHS. The project provided FPS to explore options for an overhaul of the school’s construction program and curriculum at FHS.
Throughout the project, students learned many aspects of the construction process on a smaller scale, ranging from floor, wall and truss framing and siding to trim carpentry and roofing.
“This was a great opportunity to develop a new community partnership and teach the kids to use their talents or skills to help others,” FHS teacher Keith Cunnings said in a press release.