Everyone needs a hero in their life, but for the children who are abused and neglected -- they need a superhero.

That is why the superheroes from Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Madison County are trying to raise funds to help more children in need by holding their very first Superhero Gala.

The local nonprofit advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children in the Family Court System, according to Victoria Benge, executive director for CASA of Madison County, in addition to raising awareness for the cause.

"The purpose of the Superhero Gala is to raise awareness of the children who have been abused and neglected in our community," Benge said in an email to The Register. "The Superhero Gala is one of our fundraisers to provide more children in need with a CASA volunteer. This is the first gala that CASA of Madison County has held! We are very excited by this event that will be held annually."

According to Benge, 526 children in Madison County were abused and neglected in 2018. Currently, 70 of those children have a CASA volunteer looking out for their best interests, she said. A CASA volunteer is required to complete applications, a background check and participate in 30 hours of training and court observations. They usually spend 5-10 hours a month supporting the child appointed to them.

CASA volunteers meet with the children at least monthly and make recommendations to the court regarding the best interests of that child. CASA volunteers are often the only consistent person involved in these children's lives.

"Children with a CASA volunteer, on average, achieve permanency sooner than children without a CASA volunteer," Benge said. "Similarly, children with an advocate, on average, do better in school."

According to Benge, it costs $1,000 for a child to have a CASA volunteer for an entire year.

"So 100% of the proceeds from this event will go back towards helping abused and neglected children in our community," she noted.

The Superhero Gala is a semi-formal affair that will feature heavy hors d'oeuvres, ranging from braised beef tips, shrimp and grits and barbecue pork. Benge said there will be a DJ and dancing, a photo booth and speakers about CASA and foster children.

There will also be a silent and live auction with some fantastic things, ranging from a condo in Florida to University of Kentucky men's basketball signed poster to a private wine tasting class.

"The event will be a great evening and will provide more abused and neglected children in Madison and Clark Counties with someone advocating on their behalf," Benge said. "Come out and be a superhero for our children!"

Tickets for the event starts at $75 per person, or patrons can get a table for $600. People can purchase tickets online at https://casasuperherogala.eventbrite.com or they can mail in a check to PO Box 634, Richmond, KY 40476.

The Superhero Gala will take place at the EKU Center for the Arts Stage on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 7-11 p.m.

To learn more about CASA of Madison County, visit them online at www.madisoncasa.org.

Reach Kaitlyn Brooks at 624-6608; follow her on Twitter @kaitlynsbrooks.

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