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Pahrump luau brings in thousands to assist young people

On a balmy evening in the Pahrump Valley, area residents donned their Hawaiian-style garb and headed out to the Lakeside Casino RV Resort boathouse for the 2019 CASA Luau, hosted by Pioneer Territory Court Appointed Special Advocates.

One of the nonprofit organization’s largest fundraising events of the year, the CASA Luau attracted a large crowd on Saturday, Sept. 21, all out to partake of the traditional luau festivities while also lending their support to CASA’s efforts.

The organization focuses on providing volunteer advocates for youth in the foster care system, helping to give those children a voice in court proceedings and aiming to ensure foster youth are ultimately placed in safe, loving, permanent homes. It is a mission that has long drawn eager backing from the community and the 2019 CASA Luau was another prime example of that support.

In total, the event brought in nearly $19,000 which will be used to continue CASA’s work in providing volunteer advocates to represent foster children throughout Nye and Esmeralda counties.

“The 2019 Luau was a fantastic success!” CASA Executive Director Kathie McKenna enthused following the highly successful event. McKenna noted that as CASA did not hold a luau in 2018, the organization was unsure of how this year’s event would turn out, with fears that attendance might be low. However, the community rallied around the nonprofit once again with roughly 140 people heading out to enjoy all the fun that the 2019 CASA Luau had to offer.

“The food was fabulous, as close to a real luau menu as you can get and not be in Hawaii,” McKenna detailed. “The weather was perfect, only a slight breeze and nothing too windy. The entertainment knocked the luau out of the park. Rau Tama Nui out of Las Vegas so generously donated their time and talent and entertained our guests with professional Tahitian dancing.”

All in all, McKenna said there were more than 60 raffle, silent auction, live auction and door prizes up for grabs that evening, including the largest prize of the night, a one-week trip to a five-star resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

“Our list of people who were donors and volunteers is extensive, and I’m hoping not to miss anyone,” McKenna said, offering sincere thanks to all those that helped make the event the triumph that it was, including the CASA Board of Directors, the CASA volunteer advocates and all the sponsors.

Sponsors included local businesses Gunny’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Desert View Hospital, Marty Greenfield Jewelers, 775.FYI, Pahrump Valley Disposal, Joe’s Sanitation, KPVM TV and ACE Country Radio, KNYE Radio, Reflections Healthcare, the Saitta Trudeau car dealership and Valley Electric Association.

JK Nelson, Pahrump Valley Auto Plaza, C&S Waste, Nevada Realty and Aesthetic Enhancements were among the sponsors as well, along with VinoZazz 2020, Written in Stone/Rick Clout, Shadow Mountain Framing, the Law Office of Robin Holseth, Notary Plus, Spring Mountain Motor Resort, Mountain Falls Golf Club, Qu BBQ and Denny’s.

Individuals who sponsored the 2019 CASA Luau included Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, Jason Earnest, Dot Ahrens, Mirit Avrim, Caroll Zerkle, Candace Perkins, Deb Felix and Kristin Marshall.

McKenna made sure to emphasize her gratitude to the community members who participated by attending, donating and purchasing items, remarking, “Without the community, this event would never have been possible.”

Outside of fundraising, another key component in keeping CASA alive and well in the community is the volunteer force that provides the backbone of the organization and there is always a need for more generous, giving individuals to become advocates.

“We train volunteers to be advocates to foster children in the court system. Advocates are their voices in court,” McKenna stated. “Advocates may be the only stable person in their life while in the court system. Advocates spend time with the kids, becoming their friend and confidant, someone the child can depend on.”

At this time, McKenna said there are 32 children in foster care who are in need of an advocate and stepping up to assist these vulnerable members of the community can have a huge impact on their lives long into the future.

“It only takes three or four hours per month, after training, to be an advocate,” McKenna explained, encouraging people to sign up for the next training session, which begins Oct. 3 and concludes Nov. 26. Training sessions will be held on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the CASA office, 1321 S. Highway 160, Suite 9A.

Prior to the training session, CASA will also be hosting an open house. This is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 28. More information on the organization and applications to become an advocate can be filled out online at www.ptcasanv.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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