“Imagine a World without Child Abuse” was the theme for the CASA/GAL Luncheon held at Portage Country Club on Saturday afternoon.
Executive Director Beth Cardina said CASA/GAL volunteers provide every child who enters the court system as a result of allegations of abuse, neglect or dependency with a trained community volunteer to advocate for what is in the child’s best interest.
Cardina said in 2013 the 251 CASA/GAL volunteers served 1,026 children in Summit County.
Kim Haws Falasco and Amanda Carroll co-chaired the fundraiser for the CASA/GAL program.
A highlight of the event was the introduction of Vicki Porter and two of the children for which she advocates. The brother and sister told the heartfelt story of what the program has meant for them, bringing many in the audience to tears.
Because of the young gentleman’s love of weather, Porter contacted Betsy Kling of WKYC-TV, who arranged for him to tour the studio and even practice giving a weather forecast. His sister, who will be 15 on May 5, is interested in art, and was thrilled to tour an art gallery with Porter.
Kling, who was a celebrity guest at the event, said a volunteer contacted her six years ago “about a boy who loves weather,” and she was happy to help further his interest in a future career.
Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio thanked the volunteers for their service.
“When a child is in court, the CASA/GAL is the person in the courtroom who speaks for the child, and always looks out for their best interests,” she said.
Ramona Hood, president of the board, also praised the volunteers and thanked Sterling Jewelers for their support and providing a beautiful necklace for the raffle, which was later won by Cara Sulzer.
Karen Starr of Hazel Tree Interiors gave the group tips on sprucing up their homes for spring.
She offered a raffle prize of a two-hour decorating consultation, which was won by Terry Libergood, who enjoyed the luncheon with Nancy Dague, Allison Ray, Shanni Berrios and her daughter, Alex.
Board member Kim Ray said more volunteers are needed, and anyone interested in learning about the program can call 330-643-2928.