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Sam Sweeney, Ava Thomas, Jordan Geisert

Be the Voice Lincoln coach/judge Ava Thomas (center), Lincoln Journal Star publisher, with the contestants she coached: Sam Sweeney (at left) and singing contest winner Jordan Geisert.

CASA for Lancaster County (Court Appointed Special Advocates) hosted the inaugural Be the Voice Lincoln singing competition June 6 at Screamers Dining & Cabaret. The sold-out dinner and fundraising event shined a light on one of CASA’s core values: "Be the voice of the child!" Money raised will support volunteer recruitment and training.

“We are thrilled that our first annual event sold out,” said Dawn Rockey, executive director of CASA for Lancaster County. “We are grateful to all the singers, judges and emcee for donating their talent and time to help us raise funds and awareness for our mission.”

Nine singers performed in blind auditions for coaches/judges Ava Thomas, publisher of the Lincoln Journal Star; Gerit Schell, State Farm agent; and Kevin Winnik, owner of Light Social Marketing. Six contestants advanced to the finale, where guests were treated to inspiring performances, then voted for the winner. The $150 first prize was awarded to Jordan Geisert of Lincoln, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graphic design student who was coached by Thomas.

Master of Ceremonies was Kevin Reese, program director at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center.

“Screamers Dining & Cabaret owner Kevin Wichter and staff were outstanding hosts,” said Rockey. “The venue was the perfect place for our event.”

CASA for Lancaster County is a local not-for-profit organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children in the court system so they can thrive in safe, permanent homes. CASA recruits, trains and supports local community volunteers who advocate for the best interests of children in Juvenile Court. Children served by CASA volunteers have a positive role model who helps them gain a voice, achieve safety and stability, and develop a sense of self-worth.

For more information on CASA, contact Executive Director Dawn Rockey at drockey@casa4lancaster.org or 402-474-5161.

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