ProKids volunteers step up to help children

ProKids, which recruits, trains and supports volunteers who help break the cycle of child abuse and neglect, is on a roll.

The annual Friends of Children Breakfast in early May drew a record crowd of nearly 600 supporters, volunteers, alumni and friends.

ProKids new class of CASA volunteers, sworn in that morning by Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge John Williams, is its largest ever.

ProKids board president Tom Cuni, supporter Manuel Chavez III and TD Hughes all called on guests to support Cincinnati’s most vulnerable children with donations and volunteer time.

Chavez noted that children adrift in foster care are “an overwhelming cost, measured in both dollars and … in lost opportunity. And then we must add the cost of the next generation growing up the exact same way. Or we can come together to invest in a ProKids CASA volunteer who will make sure each child moves as quickly as possible to a safe, permanent and nurturing home.”

Although celebrating ProKids’ successes, executive director Tracy Cook cautioned, “We are facing some brutal truths in our community about how many children are living in poverty and how abuse, neglect, and poverty are intertwined. … There are no sidelines to watch from.”

That point was illustrated in touching fashion by the story of CASA volunteer Cindy Douglas and Sabrina Thompson, the great-aunt of two young children Douglas was trying to help.

The children had been removed from both their biological parents. Thompson was already caring for three children of her own, but with encouragement by the CASA volunteer, took the children in.

A video of their efforts is at Grab a tissue before watching.

Click on a thumbnail below to view entire photo gallery.

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