COLORADO SPRINGS — CASA of the Pikes Peak Region is holding a virtual Light of Hope Week.
It replaces their annual fundraiser normally held in April, during Child Abuse Prevention Month.
CASA says the coronavirus pandemic has brought an increase in child abuse and neglect cases, making this year’s fundraiser especially important.
“There are more kids entering the child welfare system than there were before. Which means we have more kids to serve,” said Keri Kahn, communications manager for CASA of the Pikes Peak Region.
CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children.
According to CASA, last year the nonprofit provided advocates for more than 700 children; children like five-year-old Annie.
“Annie was born here in Colorado Springs. Her biological mother had used drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, so when Annie was born, she had a whole host of medical problems. Doctors didn’t know, you know, if she would ever talk, or is she would ever be able to feed herself,” Kahn said.
CASA Advocates like Mary Stark, help ensure children get the help and attention they need.
“What Mary did was come along side the foster family and make sure that they had all the resources they needed to provide for a medically fragile infant,” Kahn said.
Annie, now adopted by her foster family, is making moves towards the future.
“She loves her family, she’s loves going to school. And her fragile medical history is a thing of the past,” Kahn said.
This year, Annie represents one child that can benefit from a CASA advocate.
“CASA provides a training program that will totally prepare you to do this work. And so, if you’re someone that is looking for a way to make a difference for kids, definitely check out the volunteer opportunities with CASA,” Kahn said.
The fundraiser will run through Friday.