The Arkansas Valley Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) cut the ribbon to signify opening of the La Junta office on Thursday afternoon.

A group of enthusiastic supporters of the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children gathered at the opening of the new La Junta headquarters of the Arkansas Valley CASA on Thursday afternoon. Zane Grant, executive director for CASA of Pueblo, Heart of Colorado CASA and Arkansas Valley CASA, cut the ribbon in the Chamber of Commerce welcome ceremony.

Introduced by Grant, Judge Mark Schifferl gave the opening remarks for the organization. He said the courts are extremely happy to have this group to support the children involved in child welfare cases. The children do better in school, spend less time in foster care and are happier than the children who are not supported by the advocates. "Six or seven years ago, we tried to get a CASA group started here, but weren’t able to do it. This time we have succeeded," said Schifferl to the group gathered at the headquarters at 202 Harriet Street. One of those present was the very pleased Otero County Director of Human Services Donna Rohde.

CASA is still in need of trained volunteer advocates. They presently have four volunteers, said Grant, and 15 are needed for the area. The pre-training program consists of 40 rigorous hours and volunteers must be sworn in by a judge. If you are interested, phone (719) 470-0148, or email