Helping foster kids

Rick Mannes grew up with all the things he needed. The Zeeland resident saw things differently when his wife became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
Krystle Wagner
Sep 6, 2012

She is part of a group of volunteers who spend time with children in foster care and advocate on their behalf.

After seeing the work his wife did, Mannes said he wanted to help out. In 2009, he founded Friends of CASA, a nonprofit group supporting CASA volunteers, and providing grants to children and teens in foster care.

The group currently serves the Zeeland and Holland areas, but they are hoping to branch out to other Ottawa County areas including Grand Haven.

“I want them to experience everything I had and more,” said Mannes, the organization’s vice president.

While kids might work with a couple of social workers, they only have one CASA volunteer, Mannes said.

He said there are about 150 kids in Ottawa County’s foster care, and only enough funding for 30 CASA volunteers.

Friends of CASA raise money for the volunteers to undergo proper training, and acquire books and other things they might need. The organization also has a Lullaby Fund to provide grants for sports equipment, tutoring, medical or dental needs, school supplies, dance lessons, and more.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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