CASA Women's Shelter to host annual fundraiser Friday


CASA Women’s Shelter will host its annual CASAblanca fundraiser event at 7 p.m. Friday at the Pine Bluff Country Club.

Event chairwoman, Jacqueline Retzer, said this year’s event will include casino-style entertainment, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, dinner and dancing. There will also be a live auction that will include a trip to Las Vegas.

Retzer, a member of the CASA (Committee Against Spouse Abuse) board of directors, said the event is for a wonderful cause and she is very excited about it. “It is going to be a lot of fun. We have gotten a lot of response from the community and I’m excited for the community to have such a positive organization like CASA here in Pine Bluff,” she said.

“When I was first introduced to CASA, the women and children immediately captured my heart. As a Christian, I believe it is our obligation as a community to support and embrace such an influential organization such as the CASA Women’s Shelter.”

Karen Palmer, executive director of CASA, said Retzer is a wonderful asset to the shelter and has worked extremely hard on this event.

“She is an incredible person who has volunteered countless hours of her time to develop this event. CASA is a non-profit agency working hard to provide services to all of the growing number of victims in our area and we depend on wonderful volunteers like Jacqueline and the board of directors,” Palmer said.

Tickets for the black-tie optional event are $100 per person and can be purchased at the Purple Purse, located 1514 State St., or they calling the shelter at 870-535-2955. Tickets will also be available at the door.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the victims of domestic violence who are served by the shelter.

About CASA Women’s Shelter

CASA is a private, non-profit organization established to provide services to victims of domestic violence and their children. CASA was established in 1980 in response to a demonstrated need in the community. A task force of concerned citizens volunteered their time and their own resources to start an agency that would provide services to victims of domestic violence. It started with a very small house and only one employee and some volunteers. Through the years the need for services for battered women was established and the shelter started growing.

The shelter officially opened its doors in 1982 and has housed more than 8,200 people since that time. Through the years the shelter has grown larger and provides more services with a large number of community partners that include law enforcement, churches, victim witness, the prosecuting attorney, schools, colleges, and many more.

CASA is a source of service in the community that provides emergency care for the abused, including shelter, food, clothing, school uniforms, school supplies, domestic violence counseling, support groups, assistance getting an order of protection, referrals, a 24-hour-a-day hotline, and more. The shelter also offers educational classes such as life skills, budgeting, safety planning, GED classes, in addition to the domestic violence classes.

CASA is the only domestic violence shelter in the area. According to Palmer, CASA Women’s Shelter was full to capacity almost every week of the year in 2012. To date, she said the shelter has been full almost every week.

CASA received a 3.6-million dollar grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to build a new facility that is able to house more clients and has additional program space to expand needed services. Construction was complete in April 2012.