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Anthony Hamilton to Recruit Male Volunteers For Foster Care Child Organization CASA

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By Lorrie Irby Jackson

To help bring awareness their cause and recruit more male African-American volunteers, The National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association recently announced that Grammy Award-winning R&B musician Anthony Hamilton has become a national spokesman for the non-profit organization.

In existence since 1977 and developed by David Soukup, a Seattle Superior Court Judge, CASA  utilizes community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children as their cases come up for review in court. There are presently over 70,000 CASA volunteers who advocate for more than 230,000 children in the foster care system, but the crisis disproportionately affects the 152,000 African-American children (the majority of them being boys) there, since they are represented by only 8,400 African-American volunteers. Joining forces with national spokeswoman, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Mr. Hamilton (who was also once a foster care child) sees his involvement in CASA as both a way to give back  and to pay forward that kindness to other children in need.

“I speak about my past in my music:  it’s something I was delivered from and that I can help others through. I was adopted out of my home when I was younger, my mother had a bout with alcohol and my father was just busy, so me and my sister in a situation where we were neglected—-not our whole entire lives, but enough.”

Starting with 30-second PSAs (“we’re trying to get creative, people’s attention spans are really short and to make a difference, you have to set the right tone at the right time”), the 39-year-old singer, songwriter and producer, who also will perform as one of the headlining acts on Sunday at Dallas’ Super Pages Ampitheater, is aiming to sign up more men to mentor to and volunteer on the behalf of the ever-growing numbers of African-American children.

“I lure them in and get them started talking about CASA by saying ‘Hey, I’m a person who’s been through the system as well, it’s helped me.’ There’s an obvious void with black men and the African-American community reaching back and mentoring the kids to make sure that we’re alright. I think that so many times, we believe that the need and the help is elsewhere, foreign, but right here, there’s a lot of us in the system that could use sponsors and people that will stick with it and make a difference.

“Being a celebrity, I have a voice that people tend to listen to for whatever reason and that’s why I’m on board. It’s so rewarding to see a child get in a place where he or she can feel free and safe to just be a kid and have somebody they can depend on.  That’s where my heart is and I love it.”

What is the artist’s message for those who have the heart to help? “Here’s a chance for you to make a difference— if there’s a point in your life where you feel like you’ve failed anybody or anything, here’s a chance to make up for it, to clean it up and to give back. I’m here for you all…see you at the finish line.”

For more information on becoming a CASA volunteer, please call toll free (800) 628-3233 or visit www.CASAforChildren.org.

  • Byron

    Lorrie, nice job once again great article. And I loved the concert AH put on a awesome show. A true showman…. I was very impressed.

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