KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every three years the Kansas City Chiefs choose a new partner to benefit from their annual charity game.
On Tuesday, the team announced their selection in a deal likely worth close to $1.5 million.
Kansas City Chiefs President Mark Donovan unveiled the partnership with Jackson County CASA during a news conference at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
CASA stands for “Court Appointed Special Advocates.” In essence, there are children and teens in rough patches in life, some in foster care, some facing previous abuse and neglect.
CASA connects them with volunteer adults to help them through these really bad spots.
The group connected Rochelle Edwards to M. Wood at a young age.
“Somewhere between 8 and 9. And then when she was adopted it was like ’17. But now she’s in college and we’re still friends. You know? It doesn’t go away,” Wood said.
“My CASA worker, she stuck beside me for everything I’ve been through. I was a rough kid. I used to do a lot of running away, fighting, just a lot of stuff. And she just stuck beside me through everything,” Edwards said.
Donovan says the partnership continues a tradition going back 40 years that was started by team founder Lamar Hunt.
CASA, also started 40 years ago, says the money will be used on volunteer recruitment and training.
“And what training entails is really understanding the family court system, understanding what the kids we serve and the families are facing. We say that no expertise is needed to be a casa volunteer. You just need the heart for serving kids. And we’ll teach you the rest,” Angie Blumel, president & CEO of Jackson County CASA, said.
“It’s definitely a good cause and the training is essential,” Wood said. “Because they’re living in a world that most of us don’t live in, don’t know about, don’t understand. So you want to be able to connect to the children.”
“It was hard because I wasn’t used to it. I wanted to be home with my family and everything so I definitely had a lot of anger. And I felt like I deserved a lot more than that. I didn’t have my mom or my dad like guiding me or anything,” Edwards said.
“She has a reason to look forward. And that’s what I try to convince her. Let’s look forward and not think about the past,” Wood said.
Edwards is currently studying at the University of Central Missouri to become a social worker.
CASA’s fundraising will happen during the next three seasons during certain pre-season games. The team will release certain suites and seating to the organization and allow them to fundraise and leverage support using those spots.