On the heels of the successful Washoe CASA Book-tober Fair held at Barnes & Noble Reno in October benefiting the Washoe CASA Foundation, Barnes & Noble has delivered kindness once again.

Barnes & Noble Reno recently provided the Washoe County Second Judicial District Court, Family Division, with books and toys to benefit children and adults attending hearings at the courthouse. Barnes & Noble is also encouraging the children and parents attending court to keep the books and toys, as they will replenish the area with more.

“We had such success with the Washoe CASA Foundation and its book fair, that we wanted to find a way to help our court’s family division,” said Suzanne Stock, community business development manager at Barnes & Noble, Inc. Reno. “CASAs, CASA kids, foster care children and adults will benefit from these small gestures. Going to court can be an intimidating process for anyone, especially children. We would like people to have something pleasant that they can use, share or take with them.”

“Our children are our greatest, most precious assets,” said Judge Egan Walker of the Second Judicial Court. “When I opened the boxes of books and toys, it was an emotional moment for me. It’s challenging to meet the everyday needs of our community’s foster kids. This will help make a positive impact on our children and families going through the court system.”

In Washoe County, more than 900 abused or neglected children live in foster care because they cannot live safely at home. CASAs are trained volunteers that advocate for abused or neglected children in family court proceedings. Since the first CASA program was started in 1977, court-appointed volunteers have demonstrated that they effectively support abused or neglected children by providing judges with important information concerning the children they work with.

“CASAs act as the eyes and ears of the Court and bring the kids into three dimensions for me,” said Judge Walker, “Judges are the gatekeepers for what happens or doesn’t happen for the child in foster care.”

Judge Walker said his vision is to improve the client waiting room areas with updated reading rooms, age-appropriate resources and ideally, have the rooms staffed with volunteers who can help people with their reading while waiting for their hearings. Reno-based author and former foster care child, Virginia Castleman, has written about the foster care system in her book, Sara Lost and Found, and will also provide her books for people to enjoy.

Written by: Chrisie Yabu, KPS3