Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - CASA of Missoula (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is presenting a free public event featuring three special guests, Mayor Andrea Davis, Montana’s Poet Laureate Chris LaTray, and comedian Sarah Aswell.

I spoke with CASA Development Manager Kate Morris on Friday about the event that will be held on June 5 at the Headwaters Foundation’s Confluence Center at 119 West Main. She first explained the purpose of CASA.

A Special Event to Support CASA of Missoula

“A ‘Court Appointed Special Advocate’ is considered in legal terms a friend of the court,” began Morris. “They are an independent volunteer who was well trained to be an advocate for the best interest of the child of the children directly to the judge.”

Morris briefly described each CASA volunteer’s duties.

Morris Described the duties of a CASA Volunteer

“What the volunteer actually does is meet regularly with the child and with their family members and their teachers; everybody in that child's life, and gathers information and presents that information in an unbiased way to the judge to say, this is the situation this child is in,” she said. “This is how we're working towards safety and security for this child.”

Morris explained why she sought out three very special Missoula residents who will help inspire those who attend the event on June 5.

Andrea Davis, Chris LaTray and Sarah Aswell will be the Special Guests

“I thought about the most inspiring people I could think of in our community and I started asking them for favors,” she said. “I got really lucky in that the Mayor (Andrea Davis)  (Poet Laureate) Chris and (Comedian) Sarah all really believed in us and are supporting us and have agreed to share personal anecdotes about how their lives were changed by an engaged adult. I'm going to pair it with some of our really great successful stories about how CASA (volunteers) have made all the difference in the lives of some children affected by neglect and abuse in our community. And we'll go from there.”

Morris is hoping that these three influential Missoulians will share their enthusiasm with those who attend the event.

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“I'm hoping that the audience will make that connection between the children who are in need of advocacy now and the adults they could be, which could be the poet laureate of our state or the mayor of our town, or one of the most successful independent entertainment personalities in our region,” she said.

The June 5 event is free, and there will be seating for about 50 people. Seating will be first-come, first-served at the Headwaters Foundation’s Confluence Center at 119 West Main.

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