LIMA — As part of a fundraising campaign to update its downtown building, CASA accepted a $60,000 donation — the largest single donation Crime Victims Service has ever received — from Nutrien Lima Nitrogen Wednesday morning.
The funds are earmarked to improve the exterior of the building, update its siding and create a green space on the south side of the CASA building in an abandoned alley. In the future, the outside space is expected to be a comfortable place to train volunteers as well as an effort to beautify the downtown area.
“Nine months from now, people will notice and say ‘Wow, that looks nice,’” Crime Victim Services Executive Director David Voth said. “When they drive by and look at the building, we want people to say this is a good community.”
As of Wednesday, $170,000 has been raised by CASA to meet its $200,000 goal to update its office at 234 N. Main St. Some of those funds have already been spent smoothing the “mountain range”-esque parking lot, CASA Director Tim Thurston said. In the future, the interior will go through a major overhaul with a few walls torn down to open up space and make it easier for volunteers to receive the training and educational materials they may need as court-appointed children advocates.
Currently, Thurston said there are roughly 150 children in the court system that CASA can’t provide a volunteer for, despite the group having an all-time high of over 100 volunteers on its rolls. The additional funds, however, should help change that as they enable the office to grow and meet the need.
“You guys do the heavy lifting. We’re happy to be able to help support,” Nutrien General Manager Todd Sutton said.
After Nutrien presented an oversized $60,000 check to CASA officials, Voth highlighted Nutrien’s support with a gift — a small plaque with the words “Outstanding Support 2018”.
“Really, it comes down to volunteering at Crime Victim Services, here at CASA, and for companies like Nutrien that volunteer money,” Voth said.
“It speaks to community involvement that the community is willing to step up and help,” Thurston said.
Since CASA’s founding in 2009 by volunteers as a program of Crime Victim Services, CASA has served 794 children throughout Allen and Putnam counties. Of the 253 abuse, neglect and dependency cases in 2017, CASA provided advocates for 110 cases.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.