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Bergen CASA Casino Night to Benefit Local Foster Kids

Emmy winner Martha Byrne is organization's new spokesperson. Event is Tuesday.

Theresa and Martha.
Theresa and Martha.
The following was submitted to Patch by Bergen CASA.

Have some fun and benefit children in foster care at the same time! 

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children of Bergen County is holding their 9th Annual Dinner Event: Casino Night: Bet on the Children on April 8 from 6pm - 10pm at Seasons, 644 Pascack Road in Washington Township, NJ.  

This year CASA for Children of Bergen County welcomes Emmy-Award Winning Actress and Bergen County resident Martha Byrne as their new spokesperson. Martha, a Mahwah resident, is best known for playing the roles of Lily Walsh Snyder and Rose D'Angelo on As the World Turns. Currently she can be seen as Marie Wirth on NBC's new crime thriller, Crisis

The fundraiser will feature a bountiful buffet throughout the evening including over-the-top hors d'oeuvres, carving stations, fish and pasta dishes and delectable desserts. There will be an open bar, casino-style play all night, and a silent auction and tricky tray.  

Tickets are $125 each and can be obtained by calling Chrystal Henion at 201-336-7520. Donations are also being accepted for the auction and tricky tray. Ads for the journal and sponsorships are available beginning at $25. Please call Chrystal for information.

This event coincides with National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness month. CASA is a private, nonprofit organization serving children in foster care throughout Bergen County. Although affiliated with National CASA and the NJ State CASA program, CASA for Children of Bergen County is solely responsible for raising all of the funds needed to run the program each year. 

In recent years, funding for the Bergen chapter has been cut and donations are needed to keep the program going. CASA volunteers are the voice of the children; they advocate on behalf of the county's abused and neglected children, ensuring that they receive proper services while in foster care helping to get them placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. 

Each CASA advocate has a one on one relationship with the child he/she serves, and each advocate works on behalf of only one child or one family of children at a time.  Currently, CASA for Children of Bergen County is assigned to only about one third of the more than 600 children removed from their homes in the county each year, but its goals is to serve more. Additional funds would allow the program to recruit, train and supervise more volunteers to help more children.

Martha has always had a special interest in organizations that serve children. For many years she has been a Professional Advisory Board Member for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. She's said she is now honored to be helping out children in her home county.  

"Bergen County CASA for Children is a wonderful and needed organization, she states.”The Board, the administration, the Advocate volunteers and all the other volunteers deserve to be commended for all they do to advocate for the children in foster care. These kids are often shuffled from one place to another, not developing the relationships they need. The importance of a one-on-one advocate for each child cannot be underestimated, as it has a positive affect on that child for the rest of his/her life."

This event is being chaired by volunteers. The chairs are Karen Cedzidlo (East Rutherford) and Melissa Goetz (Washington Township). Committee members are Charlene Barbetta (Oradell), James Boyan III (Glen Rock), Suzanne Curry (Mahwah), Jeff Golden (North Haledon), Maxine Horvath (Hackensack), Gaurang Kalsaria (Bogota), Kip Kramer (Glen Rock), Debbie and Mark Levy (Washington Township), Jerry Maroules (Fort Lee), Nancy Nachman (Englewood Cliffs), Sophie Papanikolaou (Fair Lawn), Bob Varettoni (New Milford), and Caren Zisk (Haworth).  

Sponsors to date include: Becton Dickinson, Inserra Supermarkets and RBC Capital Markets.

For more information on CASA, email info@bergencasa.org or visit www.bergencasa.org. If you would like to make a monetary donation, would like to know how to become a CASA volunteer or would like to sponsor a child, please call Theresa Kehoe at 201-336-7520 or visit our website.

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