TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation recently donated a total of nearly $47,000 to two area Court Appointed Special Advocates organizations.

CASA is a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system. The CASA organizations receiving tribal contributions serve Cherokee children in a number of counties within the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

“Protecting our precious children is a priority of the Cherokee Nation, and we have long been a supporter of organizations like Court Appointed Special Advocates because of the role they have in helping to provide that protection,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “CASA volunteers are leaving such a lasting mark on the lives of our youngest Cherokee citizens and I cannot say enough about the wonderful work they do each day in the Cherokee Nation Reservation area.”

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cherokee Country, which serves Cherokee and Adair Counties, received nearly $21,000 from the Cherokee Nation.

“I’m very relieved and very grateful because we know year to year that without the Cherokee Nation contribution, we would not be able to operate our program. So each year we have so much gratitude for the funding from the Cherokee Nation,” said Jo Prout, executive director of CASA of Cherokee Country. “We have to pay our bills and make sure our copy machine, our telephone and the Internet are working, and that’s what this helps us do. The tribe’s contribution helps us with daily operational costs.”

CASA of Northeast Oklahoma, which serves Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, Delaware and Washington Counties, received more than $26,000.

“Cherokee Nation has been so generous to us. They’re one of our biggest supporters and I think this is just representative of how they feel about their citizens, especially the youngest citizens, the children. They take good care of their people,” said Angela Henderson, executive director of CASA of Northeast Oklahoma. “With this contribution, we are going to try to expand to serve more children. We’re going to train as many volunteers as we can.”

Cherokee Nation’s annual donations and contributions fund assists advocacy groups such as CASA as well as food pantries, shelters, churches and other organizations.