Christmas Came Early for CASA Teens Thanks to Law Students

Posted: Wed, 12/19/2012 - 12:50

This year, Christmas came early for two teenagers in the Court Appointed Special Advocates [CASA] program. Twin sisters were selected by Cumberland School of Law’s Public Interest & Community Service Organization to receive a special Christmas gift.

In the midst of final exams, law students fund-raised to collect monies to purchase a laptop as a gift, which was on the Christmas wish list for the CASA sisters. At the gift presentation, Darla Evans, the CASA representative, was surprised by not one, but two laptops and computer accessories for each of the girls. The original expectation was the sisters would share one laptop; with this unexpected surprise each sister will have their own. The law students raised more than $1,000 for these gifts and provided a $50 gift card for the girls’ caregiver.

It can be challenging to provide gifts for teenagers in the CASA program, stated Evans. The younger children are usually the ones who are selected first. For the past five years, the law school has chosen to gift teenagers. Cassandra Adams, director of Cumberland School of Law's Community Mediation Center & Public Interest Project, seeks opportunities for law students to get involved to help the community. By being involved in the community, law students can directly see the impact their law degrees will have to help others, noted Adams.

Current Public Interest & Community Service Organization members include the following law students Caitlyn White, president; Al Teel, vice president of community service; Ashley Rhea, vice president of public interest, Lauren Lomax, secretary; Tiffany Holford, treasurer; David Keel, Leirin Ragan, Chris Doty and Aly George, fundraising chairs.

According to CASA’s website, “CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system, or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.”