Edmonds Rotary, CASA partner with Edmonds Bookshop to provide Black history books to at-risk youth

CASA staff and Rotary representatives gather in front of the Edmonds Bookshop with owner Michelle Bear to turn over 175 Black history- themed books to CASA for distribution to at-risk youth through their court-appointed CASA volunteers. Those in the photo include, from left, Rotarian Maggie Peterson, CASA Division Manager Joelle Kelly, CASA representative Garnet Parish, Diane Buckshnis, Rotarian Libby Freese, Edmonds Bookshop owner Michelle Bear, CASA Marketing Specialist Lisa White, CASA Legal Assistant Zac Anderson.

In honor of Black History Month, the Edmonds Rotary and the Edmonds Bookshop once again joined hands with the Snohomish County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) program to provide 175 Black history-themed books for direct distribution to at-risk youths served by CASA.

CASA volunteers serve as court-appointed special advocates for children who have landed in the state’s foster system, many of whom are victims or alleged victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect. This effort is part of the Rotary’s literacy program, and follows up on last year’s successful partnership to similarly distribute diversity-themed books to this same population.

While sharing books and literature has always been a part of what CASA volunteers do with their clients, until last year the supply of books was limited — meaning that the volunteers could not leave the books behind, but rather took them to share with other children. Thanks to the support from Rotary and the Edmonds Bookshop, these books can now be purchased in sufficient quantities that they may be left permanently with the children.

“We’re really excited to be able to do this again so quickly,” said Rotarian and Edmonds City Councilmember Diane Buckshnis.  “The funds to purchase these books come from our annual Christmas giving tree and our generous donors — and I want to give particular mention to Lorraine Meitzner, who donated consistently to this project.

“I should also point out that this year’s effort is dedicated to the memory of long-time Edmonds Rotarian the late Sharalyn Ramm, in recognition of her tireless efforts on behalf of our community and her generosity in support this and other programs,” Buckshnis added. “This generosity meant that extra money was again available this year to continue the literacy program. ”

To help stretch the Rotary funds even further, Edmonds Bookshop owner Michelle Bear provided the Rotary a 20% discount on all the books purchased for CASA. “It’s our way of helping to fund the effort,” Bear added.

“We’re so incredibly grateful for these books and the help they will provide for the children we serve,” remarked CASA Division Manager Joelle Kelly. “We have approximately 70 volunteers right now who are eager to share these books with the children to whom they are assigned. But the need is great, and we’re always looking for more volunteers who are willing to share their time, effort and compassion with these kids.”

“The CASA volunteer advocate is frequently the mom these kids never had,” added Buckshnis.  “They are true life-savers.”

If you are interested in joining the CASA team of volunteers, information and application forms are available on the CASA website here.

— Story and photo by LarryVogel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.