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From left, Angela Rose, executive director of CASA of the Pikes Peak Region, and Keri Kahn, public relations for the nonprofit. The two are pictured in the playroom for supervised visits in the Colorado Springs office. Photo by Pat Hill

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For the first time, Court Appointed Special Advocate hosts a Light of Hope breakfast fundraiser in Woodland Park. The event Sept. 18 is a sign of the growth, as well as the need, for CASA to serve local children who have been abused and neglected.

In Teller County last year, CASA served one family with three children but this year, with 14 CASA advocates, the number increased to 21 children and several families. “We’ve been able to recruit more volunteers,” said Angela Rose, executive director of CASA of the Pikes Peak Region.

The CASA program includes supervised visits — which have increased from one last year to eight families who were able to see their children in a secure setting. “We’re really proud of that, feel like we’re making an impact,” Rose said.

Due to the increase in the number of children who have been abused and neglected over the past year, CASA opened an office in Divide, which is staffed by Janet Stoddard, CASA’s program manager for Teller County.

The breakfast is intended to raise enough funds to maintain the office and keep providing services, with 100 percent of the proceeds staying in Teller County.

“It does seem to make a difference that we have a space with our name on it, that we’re right there,” Rose said.

There could be several reasons for the increase in need, among them, the ease of calling the hot line at Colorado4Kids, 1-844-CO4-5437, Rose said. “But, this is my personal opinion, but I think drug use seems to be increasing everywhere,” Rose said. “That causes people to do things they might not otherwise do.”

The fundraising breakfast will have tender moments, as the annual events do in April in Colorado Springs. “We’ll tell the story of a mom who was in a domestic violence situation in Teller County. She was self-medicating with alcohol because of the abuse,” Rose said. “The baby in the crib feels that tension.”

Thanks to a CASA volunteer advocating in court for the baby, the mother has moved on with her child. “The CASA was assigned to advocate and protect the baby but he really ended up being an advocate for the baby and the mom,” Rose said.

The Light of Hope breakfast, whose presenting sponsor is Newmont Mining Corporation., is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Sept. 18 at Shining Mountain Golf Club.

For information about hosting a table or for reservations, call Jill at 447-9898, ext. 1026.

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

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