The annual Pawnee/Osage Court Appointed Special Advocates Birdhouse Auction is scheduled for Dec. 14 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pawhuska.
The annual fundraiser is a favorite of the year, with renowned artists decorating birdhouses that can go from $20 to $600.
“This is our largest and most popular fundraiser. Birdhouses of all shapes and sizes are given to local artists, students, and children,” said Helen Norris, Pawnee/Osage CASA director. “They are painted and signed by the artist and when completed they are true works of art. An auctioneer who donated his time then auctions them off. Winners keep them and display them or they are given as gifts. So much time, thought, and effort are given to each house.”
Proceeds from the auction help the CASA program recruit and train community volunteers to speak for abused and neglected children in the courts.
The Pawnee/Osage CASA program is one of 946 community programs with volunteers serving at-risk children in court cases in both Pawnee and Osage counties. Started in 2009, the Pawnee/Osage CASA program takes on court cases in state and tribal courts with the CASA program now available in the Osage Nation Trial Court.
CASA volunteers are assigned to abused and neglected Native American children in the Osage County or Osage Tribal Court system and they monitor their living situation, school activity, and general well-being and report directly to the judge handling the child’s case.
According to Norris, 60 percent of cases heard in Osage County court involve Osages. To prepare for state and tribal cases, CASA volunteers not only complete 30 hours of required training, they also have 10 additional training hours on Osage and Pawnee history and cultural customs.
The Pawnee/Osage CASA office is one of four (CASA offices) in the United States that cross-trains CASA volunteers for both tribal and state cases, Norris said. If a case begins in state court but moves to tribal court, the CASA volunteer stays on the case and vice versa if a tribal case transfers to state court jurisdiction. The CASA volunteer would keep a constant presence in transferred cases because state social workers handling cases transferred to tribal courts cannot follow the cases once they leave the jurisdiction, Norris said.
For more information about the birdhouse auction, on becoming a CASA volunteer or to donate, contact Pawnee/Osage CASA at its Pawhuska office at (918) 287-4120. The Pawnee office can be reached at (918) 762-3776.
Donations can also be sent to:
Pawnee/Osage CASA Program
100 W. Main St.
Suite # 206
Pawhuska, OK 74056