Band uses music to advocate for families
Members of the Aspen Meadow Band will soon pick up their instruments to support CASA of Clackamas County.
CASA, an abbreviation for court appointed special advocates, works with children who have been taken into protective custody because of abuse or neglect. Members of the mainly volunteer organization advocate for children in court while working to find a safe and permanent homes for them.
This is the second year members of Aspen Meadow Band have supported CASA with their Tractors, Trucks & Teddy Bears Concert, an event that features country music, complimentary food and fellowship. The event is free, with attendees encouraged to make a donation to CASA.
The Aspen Meadow Band's team is eager to support the cause for another year.
"The safety and reassurance (CASA) offers kids is amazing," said Desi Aamodt, a member of the band's public relations team. "Most of them are volunteers, and they do what they do out of (the goodness of) their hearts. That's very huge."
Matthew Senn, the band's leader and guitarist, agreed, adding that the concert fits well with the band's mission.
"When we started the band, we had the perception that music can help people," he said. "(We hope to) help support and bring awareness to CASA."
Senn added that the band also hopes to bring awareness to the difficulties faced by abused or neglected children.
"Awareness is the first thing that has to happen to keep kids out of difficult situations and get them to better places," he said.
Katherine Gorell, development director for CASA, explained that volunteers typically visit with the children they are working with at least once a month and interview parents, ensure children receive medical treatment as needed and ensure educational needs are being met.
"(CASAs strive to) look at a holistic picture," she said.
Last year, the organization had 115 volunteers that worked with 272 children in Clackamas County.
Gorell noted that the organization hopes to expand its efforts, since a total of 606 children in the county were placed in foster
care because of abuse or neglect.
"Every child deserves a home that's wonderful, safe and steady," she said.
According to national evaluations, children with volunteer advocates are less likely to be placed in multiple foster homes, more likely to receive services such as medical care and counseling and typically spend less time in foster care. They are also more likely to be adopted.
"Our goal is to reunite kids and families whenever possible," Gorell said.
Fittingly, attendees of all ages are welcome at the benefit concert, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Aspen Meadow Amphitheatre, 24232 S. Upper Highland Road.
"It's very welcoming and family friendly," Aamodt said. "It's a really great time. There are a wide variety of (country songs played), classic and modern."
Many people opt to dance during the event.
"It's a space where everyone can get up and have fun," she said.
She added that the band strives to create a stress-free and safe environment with this concert and other events.
"We want to provide that gift to the community," she said. "Come, put your stress and everyday worries down, and leave feeling hopeful and inspired."
Senn noted that all of the band's 15 musicians share the desire to use music to help people.
"We try to do something different with music," he said. "We make music to help others."
If you go
What: Tractors, Trucks & Teddy Bears benefit concert for CASA of Clackamas County
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, June 3.
Where: 24232 S. Upper Highland Road