Annual Shine a Light for CASA Fundraiser

MEDFORD, Ore.- The Annual Shine a Light for CASA fundraiser was held at the Rogue Valley Country Club on May 10th.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a non-profit organization that recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children. According to Jennifer Mylenek, Executive Director for CASA of Jackson and Josephine counties, they had 266 volunteers last year that helped 61 children. Mylenek says this fundraiser is a huge help to CASA’s¬†cause.

“The funds from this helps support our operations. It’s a law that every child has a CASA but it’s not well funded by the state, so we have to do a lot of fundraising to keep it going,” Mylenek said.

Mylenek says they’ve been hosting this event for over 18 year, but this is the first time ever that the night was completely sold out. The night included a dinner, silent and live auction, raffle drawing and dancing. She hopes with the sold out crowd, they’ll be able to raise $200k.

“There’s been funding cuts over the last year for our program because… we have children who are homeless that we’re serving, but we don’t serve the homeless population, which is with good reason, a lot of where community funding is headed,” Mylenek said.

Joan Reukauf, a board member for CASA of Jackson and Josephine counties who helped organize the nigh, says it took months of planning to put everything together. She says it’s all worth it, because a child’s CASA is the one person who is the absolute constant for them.

“CASA is the one organization when youth are discarded or have to be taken away from the home, that is the constant voice for them,” Reukauf said.

Mylenek says as long as they can raise awareness of the work CASAs do, regardless of how much money they raise, they’ve won.

“The more people that know about this, even if you don’t become a CASA, the further our reach goes to helping the kids that are on our waiting list,” Mylenek said.

For more information about CASA or to become one, go to jacksoncountycasa.org.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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