by Ron Gholson
Blount County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates for Children) will hold an auction of seven playhouses built by volunteer groups as a fund-raising project for the organization that provides volunteer courtroom advocacy for children in foster care.
The auction will be held Sunday, Nov. 11, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot along Ala 75 in front of Lester Memorial United Methodist Church, where the brightly-colored houses are on display. The auction itself will start at 3 p.m. Bidders should be prepared to pay for the houses at the conclusion of the auction. Personal checks will be accepted.
There are three other ways you can get a playhouse. (1) One cottage – the yellow one – will be given away in a drawing. Tickets are $10 each and can be bought from Aimee at the Blount County – Oneonta Chamber of Commerce office, from Gwen in the district attorney’s office, or from any CASA board member. (2) If you cannot attend the live auction on Nov. 11, you can submit an absentee bid that will be entered for you at the auction. You can get an absentee bid form from Aimee at the chamber office. (3) If you just have to have a cottage and you can’t wait for the auction, a private sale can be arranged, although perhaps at a premium price. If you want to go that route, call Barbara Anderson at (205) 559-2206, and she’ll put the gears in motion. Make your best offer and hope the board of directors smiles favorably upon it.
All proceeds of the sale will benefit the Blount County CASA program. One fact to use as a point of reference for bidding: there’s an average of $1,500 to $1,800 in materials alone in each playhouse, plus untold hours of volunteer labor.
The building teams and their cottages are as follows:
Dunnwood Lumber Yard / Lori Criswell and Associates – the covered bridge cottage
Oneonta City Employees – the castle/fort cottage
Oneonta Discount Building Supply – the purple cottage
Lester Memorial United Methodist Church – the clubhouse cottage
World Outreach Center – the pink cottage
Pleasant Mount Baptist Church/ Marvin’s Building Materials – the yellow cottage
Blount County Sheriff’s Department – the wild west sheriff’s office
Auburn University Club – the Auburn locker room
CASA is a nationwide program that assigns carefully screened and trained volunteers to be one-on-one advocates for children in the foster care system. The volunteer’s job is to monitor the child’s well-being and help determine the best possible permanent placement for him or her. The volunteer is the sole person in the legal system whose only concern is the best interests of one specific child or sibling group. The volunteer can help break the cycle of abuse and neglect and give the child the best possible chance of having a happy, healthy, and productive life.
Blount County has one of only eight established CASA programs in the state of Alabama.