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Hasbro awards grant to CASA of Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD The Hasbro Children's Fund has awarded a $10,000 grant to Court Appointed Special Advocates of Hampden County (CASA), a program of the Center for Human Development (CHD). The grant will support part of the salary for the program's full-time Coordinator of Volunteers. "This position allows CASA to continue to recruit new volunteers, train them in the CASA curriculum and supervise them while they advocate for their children," said Keith Hedlund, the Program Coordinator. CASA trains volunteers as advocates for children involved with the court system and state social service programs who are usually victims of abandonment, abuse or neglect. CASA's two full-time staff and 60 volunteers work with more than 100 children every year. The program had been funded entirely through the Massachusetts court system until the state cut all funding for CASA programs beginning July 1, 2009. Although CHD has been able to provide provisional support for CASA's operating expenses, matching funds are needed to sustain its work. This is the first fiscal year in which CASA has had to do fundraising to support its budget. "We never had to write grants or raise so much money before," said Hedlund. To cut expenses, CASA had to give up its longtime office at 101 State St., Springfield, near Court Square. It now shares offices with CHD's Children's Programs at 45 Willow St. The Hasbro Children's Fund is a philanthropic program that helps critically ill, physically challenged or at-risk children. The fund is administered by global toy and game maker Hasbro Inc., which has a facility on Shaker Road in East Longmeadow.

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