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Chocolate Auction will help kids in need
new slt CASA director
Caitlyn Eakin became director of Central Kansas CASA last May. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

The best place to satisfy a sweet tooth while helping children have homes where they can grow and thrive is the 11th annual Central Kansas CASA Chocolate Auction. Tickets are on sale now, said Caitlyn Eakin, director of the nonprofit organization.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Great Bend Events Center, 3010 10th St., with a social hour and silent auction. During this part of the evening, guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, including chocolate fountains and chocolate martinis. A live auction starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $35 and are available at the CASA office, 1125 Williams St. The telephone number is 620-792-5544.

Chocolate is included with every auction item, but that is only to sweeten the deal, said Marcia Westhoff, vice president of the CASA board of directors. Area individuals and business have donated dozens of items, such as a pair of tickets to the May 13 Luke Bryan concert at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita; two tickets to a Brad Paisley concert (he’s coming to Wichita Feb. 25); jewelry and electronics; sports items from local and professional teams; restaurant gift certificates; art by local artists; and 18 different dinner parties – including a pony party for kids and a cigar and cards party for adults.

Westhoff said returning guests can expect some new and refreshing twists to the auction as it moves to the Events Center. But organizers will continue some of the traditional features, one of which is “Cupcakes and Carats.” That evening they will attempt to sell 50 cupcakes for $50 each. There will be a drawing and one cupcake holder will win a pair of diamond earrings.

This will be the first CASA Chocolate Auction for Eakin, who took over as director last May. At last Thursday’s Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Coffee, she reminded members that CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.
When an abused or neglected child enters the court system, the judge can appoint a trained volunteer, or CASA, to get to know the child and provide an unbiased report.
By handling only one or two cases at a time – compared to a social agency caseworker’s average load of 60-90 – the CASA volunteer has the time to explore thoroughly the history of each assigned case. The judge receives extra information from someone totally outside the government agency.
The organization’s vision statement: “We envision all children in safe, loving permanent homes.”

Central Kansas CASA serves the 20th Judicial District, which includes Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties. It was started in 1985 by Lester Nuss, an attorney, and was the third CASA program in Kansas. Today there are 23.
Donations to the organization are tax deductible and stay in the community. More volunteers are needed, Eakin said.
Learn more about Central Kansas CASA online at or on Facebook.