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CASA kids get party, gifts at Flowery Branch

POSTED: December 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Flowery Branch High freshmen, from left, Jeileen Burgos, Tatiana Munoz and Marithza Garcia join other students gathering presents collected for the Hall-Dawson CASA Program piled in the school gymnasium.

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It was a happy day all around Friday for kids at Flowery Branch High School.

Not only was their football team headed to the state championship game, but members of the DECA club and the student council got to see the smiling faces of more than 60 abused or neglected children from CASA at the school’s first Christmas party for the organization.

CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, assists neglected children in the courts system and helps see that they are placed in stable home environments.

"With the state game (today) and CASA (Friday), this definitely makes the holiday," senior Teresa Laur said.

Laur said she has been volunteering with CASA for the last three years and was excited to meet some of the children she has sponsored for Christmas during that time.

"It’s a big treat for everyone who’s been helping out," Laur said.

Marisa Prosser, a senior who also has volunteered with CASA for three years, said she thinks the Christmas party was a good way to get some of the younger classes involved and keep the program going after she graduates.

"This is our senior year, so the sophomores and juniors
understand the meaning of what we’re trying to do," Prosser said.

Prosser and Laur said the whole school banded together to donate gifts to 66 abused and neglected children in Hall County.

"It was a schoolwide effort," Laur said.

"It turned out amazing," Prosser said.

Wes Reed, president of the Flowery Branch student council, said he enjoyed getting involved with CASA this year.

"This was my first year as a leader," Reed said. "This is awesome. I love getting to see all these great little kids so happy."

Reed said his favorite part was shopping for the children’s gifts. He said each child will receive about $150 worth of presents.

Carla Cannon, who has been an advocate with CASA for 10 years, said the organization has worked with Flowery Branch High for the past six years.

For the past five years, the school has sponsored Christmas gifts for CASA children, but this is the first year it has thrown a party.

"It has grown every year," Cannon said.

Cannon said Flowery Branch is the only school in the area that partners with CASA, but she hopes more will be interested in the future.



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