Former CASA program participant contributes to annual fundraiser

Former CASA program participant contributes to annual fundraiser

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - There are more than 1,500 kids in foster care in Lubbock and the surrounding South Plains area. About 900 of them are without a court-appointed special advocate.

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, is a program that helps represent kids in the foster care system and makes sure caregivers and the court system are doing things in their best interest.

CASAs For CASA is an annual raffle fundraiser which people can enter with a chance to win a custom playhouse or doghouse. Come to the Parade of Homes in Stratford Pointe at Quaker and 139th or get your tickets online at www.casaofthesouthplains.org. The playhouses and dog houses are on display there.

This fundraiser is especially close to the heart of Ryan Wells, one of the playhouse builders. He was in the foster care system at 7-years-old and still keeps in touch with his CASA, Pam Sumrall.

For his Eagle Scout Service Project, Wells decided to give back to the program that's given him so much.

"My first idea that I had pitched was gift bags for these kids because when I came in (to foster care), all I had was two trash bags and a bunch of clothes," Ryan Wells said. "But they had already gotten bags so we went through a couple other ideas and they pitched the playhouse idea and I thought, 'that's great. Let's get that going before it's too late."

His adoptive Mother, Jarelyn Wells, also talked about his inspiration to give back.

"Because he was such good friends and even closer than a friend to his CASA Volunteer, he decided that he wanted to build a playhouse and donate it to raise money for the CASA organization," Jarelyn Wells said.

288 CASA volunteers served 622 kids in the Lubbock and South Plains area last.

"The money stays here and it recruits and trains ordinary people to do something extraordinary in these kids' lives," Sumrall said. "Maybe that extraordinary thing is just holding their hands through a process they don't understand and speaking up for them."

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