In this issue of
3,700 Brand-New Toys Light Up the Lives of Chicago-Area Abused and Neglected Children
Nearly five-hundred Chicago-area foster and underprivileged children received brand-new toys and enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon of play at a special "Play Your Part – Chicago" event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association and CASA of Cook County. Held on Thursday, July 16th at U.S. Cellular Field, the memorable event was made possible thanks to generous toy industry volunteers, donors and sponsors from dozens of local toy companies.
Young children and teens (many of
whom are awaiting placement in
loving, permanent homes) were
thrilled by the toys and games
they received at the event,
choosing from a wide selection of
playthings that included arts &
crafts, dolls, books, outdoor
toys, and more. The afternoon of
play also included volunteer-led
activities and games for the kids,
and other activities such as
face-painting and crafts.
A Voice Revealed: A CASA Story 25 Years in the Making
In 2013, a staff member of CASA of Travis County went to a law firm downtown to meet with them about recruiting CASA volunteers. When he mentioned the CASA program at the reception desk, the woman looked up at him and said, “CASA? I had a CASA volunteer.”
Not only did she have a CASA volunteer in Austin back in the 1990s, she was still in touch with her. They’d become lifelong friends and part of each other’s family. A few weeks later CASA of Travis County representatives sat down to lunch with Pilar Hobbs and Camie Flowers, her former CASA volunteer-turned-friend. Pilar’s story was difficult to tell and to hear, but she explained that she was ready to share what she had been through to help ensure that other children didn’t have to face the challenges of the foster care system alone. The 27-minute video chronicles Pilar’s challenging journey in and out of foster care (with and without a CASA volunteer), and later raising her own child.
WATCH Pilar’s story.
Up Close with a CASA Volunteer: Tennessee Case Shows Flexibility is Key for Kids
*Family names have been changed*
The Reynolds family was blessed with six beautiful children who were born to a mother who unfortunately, struggled all of her life. After allegations of lack of supervision, environmental neglect, educational neglect, and drug exposure, Williamson County CASA was appointed by the court.
Williamson County Tennessee is located in Middle Tennessee, just outside of the growing city of Nashville. With more than 200,000 residents, a thriving music scene, a host of big health care employers, and a booming local economy (ranking among the fastest growing in the country). To outsiders looking in, the area is a perfect mix of upward mobility, affordable housing, and thriving children.
But that’s not true for all children as more than 12,000 of the county’s families live at or below, the poverty line. And work with the Reynolds’ children showed how Williamson County CASA has to be persistent and flexible to serve the needs of children because of the perception of wealth and stability county-wide.