Fighting Child Abuse In Montgomery County

.jpg photo of Child Abuse advocates
Michael Minasi

Hundreds Attend CASA Gala To Help Fight
Child Abuse

Woodlands, TX  –  More people are standing up in the fight against child abuse in Montgomery County and to make a difference in those children’s future.

On Saturday night, 669 people filled the Waterway Ballroom at the The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center for the 21st Annual CASA Speaks For Kids: Boots & Ball Gowns Gala.

Last year, the gala raised more than $60,000 to benefit CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County.

This year, guests participated in a live auction with Judy Olson and entertainment by the David Caceres Band at the program hosted by KTRK Channel 13 news anchor Art Rascon.

Special guest, actor and producer Mathew St. Patrick flew in from Los Angeles for the event after being invited by gala chair Joni M. Barker, who knows his sister.

While some know St. Patrick best for “Six Feet Under” and “General Hospital,” not many know he grew up in an orphanage from the time he was in fourth grade to halfway through his senior year.

As someone who understands the challenges, St. Patrick said it was important for him to attend the gala and put a face to the name.  A trip to Los Angeles with St. Patrick was also up for bid during the auction.

“This is something that is dear to my heart because I understand what these kids are going through,” St. Patrick said.  “I know what it is to be told what you can’t do, I know what it is not to have support. So to have these advocates fighting, trying to get them included into the general population in terms of what their rights are, what their opportunities in life are – that makes a world of difference.  I didn’t have an organization like this.  For me, it’s pay it forward.”

CASA Executive Director Ann McAlpin said CASA trains volunteers to be advocates for the children.  The advocates become a constant for the children, helping them in a variety of ways.

One CASA advocate recently helped a second-grade child who struggled with reading.  McAlpin said the advocate’s fight led to the child being diagnosed with a neurological issue that was causing vision issues.

“Because of that advocate, now (the child) loves to read,” McAlpin said.

Another advocate worked four months searching for a child’s family, finally finding the grandmother on social media and the father who did not know he had a son.  Now the child is reconnected with a family, she said.

Dee Corn of The Woodlands praised the event she has attended for the last 10 years.

“I think it is wonderful,” Corn said.  “It’s a great cause and they do a nice job every time.”

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