Racing into CASA Christmas

Published 2:54 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2016

By Myoshi Price

The Orange Leader


American Legion Post 49 will host their second annual adult tricycle race tournament Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. This year the proceeds from the tournament will help benefit the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) with Christmas gifts for children in foster care.

When Debra Courbelle started to work with the Ladies Auxiliary at The American Legion Post 49 she couldn’t wait to use the opportunity to give back.

“In 1991, I was living in Gilmore Homes after a divorce and my children received presents from Toys for Tots at the American Legion that year. That’s why giving back means so much,” Courbelle said.

Despite numerus attempts to get the tricycle race started years ago, Debra finally got the OK to put the event together beginning with the nonprofit Blue Santa. The obstacle course race track is set up inside the back hall room of the American Legion so the weather won’t disturb the festivities.

To enter the Racing into CASA Christmas Tournament, one will need a team of four people who pays $5 each per driver and a tricycle purchased for $75 from Harbor Freight or Tractor Supply Store. The heavy duty tricycles that are purchased for the obstacle race can hold up to 300 lbs. and are decorated per team. Once the tournament is complete the tricycles are donated to the children. The teams will also take pledge donations.

“The money that’s collected from the pledges is taken and spent at Walmart buying gifts for different age groups that are distributed through CASA,” Courbelle said.

“Last year there were 28 teams that signed up. The difference this year is last year was a morning race now it is an evening race this time. We are also having a band performing this year following the championship race, The Dallas Street Ramblers” Nikki Jones, CASA executive director, said. “We are grateful to be partnering with the American Legion and this helps us boost off our Christmas Season. We are really excited and ready to race.”

The Dallas Street Ramblers are a youth Cajun band that range in age from 8 years old to 17 years old.

“With CASA, we not only support Christmas for our Children, but for any children that are in the home. It can be a pre adopted child, another foster care child that’s not assigned to CASA,” Jones said. “It can be a biological child. They sacrifice all year long. They don’t get to go to Chuckie Cheeses as many times because you don’t have the funding from raising multiple children. We want to provide them the best Christmas possible. We do for any child that’s in the home.”

“The families and the children they are blessing are taking care of foster children. That includes a lot of relatives that aren’t receiving any kind of financial help and they are taking on an extra mouth to feed and school supplies and CASA tries to be an extra support for them and Christmas time is a great opportunity to do that,” CASA Program Director Kayla Bishop said.