Creative flourished and county children benefited Saturday.
The eight annual CASA Sand Sculpture Artfest took over the Splash House sand volleyball field Saturday morning and afternoon, bringing together local organizations and their employees’ creativity to raise money for CASA, a nonprofit that trains volunteers to serve as advocates for local children who are victims of abuse or neglect.
About 20 sand sculptures were built Saturday, all of which had their own originality.
It’s creativity that has had Leslie Hendricks, executive director of CASA, pleasantly surprised for the past eight years.
“Every year I think ‘Gosh, people are going to run out of ideas,’ and then I get here and all of these sculptors have never been done,” Hendricks said. “I’m amazed that every year we don’t have duplicates. People are amazing with their creativity.”
It’s that dedication that has made the contest a consistent success for CASA.
“The many people in the community that can’t offer the time, this serves as a way of giving back to us and showing us that what we do matters to them,” Hendricks said. “I appreciate that.”
The contest, the only fundraiser CASA puts on, brings in thousands of dollars, but it also hands out awards. Those awards for 2016 were given to:
• Raisin Awareness Award: Riverside Federal Credit Union
• People’s Choice: Catey Williams Dental
• Schramm Family Award: Via Credit Union
• Golden Pail Award: Grant County State Bank
Michelle Peterson, marketing manager at Via Credit Union, who team built a sand doughnut next to a sign that read “Donut know what kids would do without CASA,” said she and the team were happy to have been awarded, but were more happy they could support CASA.
“CASA is taking care of our children, who our future,” Peterson said.
It’s the future that CASA is focusing on, and it’s a future that looks more and more challenging each week.
Hendrick’s said the nonprofit is currently serving more than 180 children in Grant County, but roughly 80 are currently waiting for a volunteer and the number of children who do need help is only increasing.
“There are children in this community that today, as I am speaking right now, are in need of a volunteer to serve as their voice,” she said. “We need people to come to us and say ‘I will help.’”