Local kayaker launches another fundraising campaign for CASA | Local news
By Denise Membreno, Franklin News-Post special
Kayaking and advocating for children may seem like overkill, but Sue Gallagher has fused her two passions to help hundreds of local children. The lake resident paddled the perimeter of Smith Mountain Lake twice to raise funds for the court-appointed special advocates. Now she’s embarking on a fundraising campaign to pay off the mortgage for the Southern Virginia Advocacy Center, which houses CASA and other services for the area.
âSome of my cases really touch me and that’s why I go kayaking,â said Gallagher, who has volunteered with CASA for 15 years. âI spend a lot of time in my kayak when I have a really difficult case also when I just want to have fun. This is how the two met.
Gallagher was 68 when she first kayaked the lake on her own to raise money. This time, she raised $ 40,000.
âTwo years later, I started again with another CASA volunteer, Jane Marvin,â Gallagher continued. That year, the duo’s fundraising efforts reached $ 77,000 until a last-minute donation helped them surpass $ 100,000. Gallagher said an anonymous donor heard she had a goal of $ 100,000 and wanted to help her reach that goal with a donation of $ 25,000.
People also read …
Kayaking on the lake took three months, kayaking every other day for eight hours a day. During the pandemic, people waited at their docks to see her and Marvin, offering water, snacks and encouragement as well as donations.
In October, Gallagher decided she was going to raise money to pay off the Southern Virginia Advocacy Center mortgage, which stands at $ 350,000. Around the same time, she met the woman who had made the anonymous donation of $ 25,000, at the home of a mutual friend. While thanking her for the donation, she mentioned her next fundraising goal.
âI went to get this woman a reel and when I got back she said, ‘I’m going to start your mortgage fund with $ 25,000. I was upset and she said, ‘No I’m not. I’ll give you $ 100,000 in matching funds. ‘ I couldn’t understand this, âsaid Gallagher. “And I turned to our friend and said what that meant.”
This meant a big boost for the mortgage fund. At the time of this writing, they had raised $ 41,000. The reels mentioned by Gallagher are given to donors. A donation of $ 100 gets a reel, larger reels are given to donors of $ 500 and donations of $ 1000 raise a large reel and a brick.
âThe reels symbolize the child’s ability to overcome abuse,â said Gallagher.
âWhat we want everyone to know is that everyone can make a difference,â said Joyce Moran, executive director of the Southern Virginia Advocacy Center. âSue takes this to the next level. His commitment is real and real. She speaks from experience in order to convey authenticity. She has been kayaking on the lake not once but twice because she knows how a person can improve the life of a child because she is committed.
The Burn the Mortgage campaign intensifies in early January 2022, culminating with a silent, live auction on the last weekend of March at the Pavilion at Black Water Junction. Owner Melba Seneff donated the venue and her husband Russell donated his auction services, Gallagher said. The couple also donated a stay at the cabin on the premises as an auction item. Gallagher is also looking for other items to auction.
Paying off the mortgage will be one way to help the Southern Virginia Advocacy Center, CASA and its volunteers. CASA volunteers work for the courts to collect information. With a court order, they are allowed to review medical records, speak with counselors, school officials, doctors, and investigators. Every time a case goes to court, the judge receives a report from a CASA volunteer.
âSeveral judges have told us this is the first thing they read because it encompasses the whole case while other reports may only concern part of the case,â Gallagher said. âEverything is confidential, I can only discuss a case with paid employees of CASA. All information in the report should be what I observe and not what I think, just the facts. Then at the end I can write down my concerns and what my recommendations are. The judge decides what happens to the child. “
Paying off the mortgage would free up nearly $ 3,000 per month to enroll in programs or reduce the centre’s operating costs.
âWe cover Franklin County primarily, this is our core area where we provide all of our CASA services,â Moran said. âWe provide services in Pittsylvania County. We also provide team services for Henry County, Town of Martinsville and Patrick County. When I say we served 714 people last year, it’s not just Franklin County because it doesn’t matter where you live for us if you’re a kid and you’ve been a victim it doesn’t is not a land border that interests us, that’s what every child has the opportunity to be safe, to have a permanence, to have an education and health care. This is what is important to us.
Anyone interested in making a donation can send a donation to the Southern Virginia Advocacy Center located at 300 S. Main Street in Rocky Mount. Donors should enter mortgage funds in the memo section.