Additional ticket locations have been announced for “Garry Carson’s Magical Mystery Show,” set for Saturday, April 19, in the Neosho Civic, sponsored by the Neosho Rotary Club to benefit New-Mac CASA.
Mike Mitchell, Rotarian and executive director, New-Mac Court Appointed Special Advocates, said CASA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of volunteers who are trained, then certified by the 40th Judicial Circuit Court; then are assigned to work with children who have been abused or neglected and need to be removed from the home, at no fault of their own.
“The CASA volunteer works with Children’s Services, the court, all the people that touch the child’s life; stays with that child, meets with them on a regular basis, attends court, meets that child in court and lets the court know the child’s interest; not just what the state or the parents want, but what the child wants,” said Mitchell.
“What’s important about it,” he added, “is that the CASA worker will stay with that child through the entire period.”
Mitchell said it’s not unusual for a child to be moved up to four times in foster care during the course of their case.
“They may have one or two, or more some times, Children’s Services workers assigned to them,” he said. “They try to avoid that at all costs, but is does happen due to attrition and various reasons. We don’t do that; they’ll stay with the kid; and a lot of times the CASA worker is the only consistency that child has throughout the entire process. And we continue with that case until the child is placed in a permanent home.”
Mitchell explained the importance of the CASA volunteer in the child’s life.
“It’s an extra person, that’s on their side, making sure they’re taken care of and that all the right steps are taken and things are done in their interest,” he said.
He said cases that have a CASA worker tend to end quicker on a national average; “So the extra adult working with the child gets resolutions for the child’s basic care sooner than if they didn’t have one.”
Mitchell said a CASA volunteer is assigned to a child who is removed from the home, due to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, through neglect; those are the general situations.
“It’s all the things you think, ranging from extreme physical or sexual abuse through not so extreme; sometimes it’s simply drugs, their presence in the home, parents get popped for drugs or something like that; anything that causes the child to not be safe in the home, whether that’s just the environment or the adult caregiver, doesn’t matter; and they have to be removed.”
Mitchell said the need for CASA volunteers is extreme, as there are often 200 kids within the 40th Judicial Circuit Court that serves Newton and McDonald counties at any given time who are under the care of the state.
“The more volunteers we have,” he said, “the more percentage we can cover; ultimately we’d go to 100 percent, but we’re not there, yet. We’re still a fledgling; we’ve only been around for a couple of years or so; there’s a lot of information we have to get out and market ourselves. Not a lot of people know about us, yet.”
Mitchell said all it takes to be a volunteer, “Is a heart and some time; it doesn’t really cost them anything; they’ll enjoy it. But we need some more volunteers, there’s no doubt about that.”
He said when they first started, only about 10 percent of the children who were eligible to have a CASA volunteer on their case had one, and they have served as many as 20 percent of the children who have needed a special advocate. Mitchell said most CASA chapters across the country do not serve 100 percent of the eligible children in their jurisdictions, as they do not have sufficient volunteers.
Volunteers first undergo a national training program, conducted locally at their own pace.
Mitchell said, “It includes court observation; it includes some studying of the law, child behavior; just make them familiar with the whole court system so they know what they are working with.”
He said they are sworn-in by the court, and background checks are conducted to ensure volunteers don’t have any criminal history or charges of child abuse.
“When they’re done,” he said, “they’re pretty bona fide; they’re ready to go.”
Mitchell said New-Mac CASA is a state and nationally sanctioned organization, which is inspected yearly to ensure of proper standards and accountability.
To find out more about becoming a CASA volunteer in Newton and McDonald counties, go to www.newmaccasa.org, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A release from the Neosho Rotary Club about the show states: “Garry Carson is one of the top performers & illusionists in the magic industry and has performed over 8,000 shows at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He was voted Family Entertainer of the Year for two years in a row. It is a show that the entire family will enjoy, filled with a woven combination of music, magic, comedy, and larger than life grand illusions. Their show will leave the audience thoroughly mesmerized and talking for weeks to come.”
In an earlier interview with the Neosho Daily News about the upcoming fundraising show, Rotarian Cary Norman said he found out about Garry Carson by catching his act while on a cruise. Norman said Carson made an announcement after the show that he was available to do free performances for worthwhile causes.
A statement from the performer’s website, www.carsonentertainment.com, includes: “Garry and his wife Mihaela Carson set aside several months a year to go on fundraising tours that benefit children. Carson Entertainment provides an event that any organization can afford to produce. They know that whenever they help organizations meet the needs or lift the spirits of others – especially a child – something magical happens! Their turn-key fundraising program featuring their family clean entertainment has helped hundreds of organizations.”
Tickets for the April 19 production of “Garry Carson’s Magical Mystery Show” are $10, and are available at the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, 216 W. Spring St. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 605, Neosho, MO 64850). Additional ticket locations include Community Bank & Trust, Country Care Pharmacy, Family Pharmacy, Hometown Bank, Mitchell’s Downtown Drugstore, and Silhouette Images. Doors to the Neosho Civic will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/events/691123210945933.