Lily Kilgore, coordinator for the Savannah/Chatham Court-Appointed Special Advocate program, answers this week's questions:
Q: Name and current job title?
A: Lily Kilgore, Program Coordinator
Q: What is your involvement with CASA?
A: I work to find new volunteers, educate the community on our cause, and raise funds for our organization.
Q: How long have you been affiliated with this organization?
A: I have been with Savannah/Chatham CASA for nine months. My father works in the children’s mental-health field so I have grown up knowing how important CASA volunteers can be in a child’s life. It is near and dear to my heart.
Q: What is the mission of an organization like CASA?
A: The mission of the Savannah/Chatham Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Inc. program is to provide training and supervision to volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are under the jurisdiction of the Chatham County Juvenile Court.
Q: How have you seen CASA impact the lives of children in the area?
A: We have some hardworking volunteers and coordinators who are in the community every day, and I love hearing their achievements! Recently, we had a volunteer go into a home to visit a very young child, and the volunteer noticed the child’s weight was very low. Through investigation and reporting, our volunteer and coordinator were able to have the child placed in a different home. The best part of the story: He is now in the correct percentage for his weight/age and hitting the correct milestones in development! We definitely cried some happy tears the day he held his head up and was finally the happy, giggly baby he should be.
Q: How many children are currently in the system in the area?
A: Chatham County currently has 256 children in care.
Q: Why is an event like Dancing with the Savannah Stars crucial to an organization like CASA?
A: Of the 256 children in care, we are only serving 156. That is only 60 percent. We need to be at 100 percent. Statistics show that a child with a CASA is half as likely to re-enter foster care than a child without. Our percentage fluctuates between 60-75 percent. The Dancing with Savannah Stars fundraiser is crucial to us because it raises money that we can use to recruit, train and maintain volunteers.
Q: How impactful is the money that is fundraised?
A: Every dollar donated goes toward the cause, and every day, we are focused on serving more children and getting to 100 percent.
Q: How can the community help this cause?
A: They can donate, volunteer and advocate for our cause! Donations can be made to www.dancingwithsavannahstars.org, and those interested in volunteering or advocating can go to www.savannahcasa.org or call me directly at (912) 447-8908, ext.100.
Q: How has being involved with CASA blessed your life?
A: There are a lot of days I go home exhausted but there is never a day I go home discouraged. I know that every dollar we raise and every person we meet is helping a child in need, and that makes each day a great day! I am so lucky to be able to devote my time to such a great cause.
Q: Where can we find more information on CASA?
A: You can visit www.savannahcasa.org, call us at (912)447-8908, or stop by the office. We have a great new executive director, Suzanne Wisdom, who wants to meet more local supporters and spread the word about what CASA does. Anyone can email, call or stop by!