From the Executive Director’s Desk ~March 2018

January and February have flown by and I want to thank everyone who donated to our year end campaign. We couldn’t do this work without your help. The New Year got off to a fast start and hasn’t slowed down yet. I know it’s been a little while since you heard from me, so I’ll give you a bit of a summary of what’s been happening at CASA Philadelphia recently. 

We ended 2017 with some great coverage of our Educational Decision Maker (EDM) program and the work that our volunteers are doing to make a difference, in the Winter 2017 edition of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. The EDM program was also highlighted for our work as an Impact 100 grantee in their January newsletter. We convened our first interagency EDM workgroup of 2018 on Jan. 10th at CASA to continue to look at ways to improve educational access and success for youth in care and will reconvene in March. 

CASA Philadelphia was awarded a competitive 2018 National CASA local program grant funded by Jewelers for Children, which will support the recruitment and training of 35 new volunteers to serve 95 new children/youth in 2018. We are proud and grateful to National CASA for recognizing our work and the great need in Philadelphia. We are excited to continue to build volunteer capacity to serve more children. 

2018 has started off with some wonderful new additions to our CASA family. We welcomed Nick Pallotta and Cherie Bloomfield as CASA Supervisors and Roopa Seshadri to our Board of Directors. We welcomed a wonderfully robust group of 16 potential volunteers to our winter pre-service training session in January. A MSW student intern from Temple University has joined us for the spring and summer semester and Grace Ciak-Linton, formerly a CASA Supervisor, has moved into the Volunteer Coordinator role. 

On January 10, 2018 we celebrated the New Year with a CASA Holiday Party. It was so gratifying to see CASA staff, volunteers and board members mingling, getting to know each other, sharing stories and most especially demonstrating their passion for CASA! It really is amazing to see all the different ways people find to give of themselves to support the volunteer driven work of CASA and our mission to support children in foster care.  

We continue to bring thought leaders to an interdisciplinary audience of stakeholders in the Philadelphia child welfare system.  Housing Matters: Distinctive Challenges for Youth and Families in Child Welfare took place on February 2, 2018.  Thank you to our presenters, Nan Feyler and Jessica Sones, for their expertise on this subject. While the status of affordable and safe housing continues to be a huge problem for the city as a whole and especially difficult for families involved with the child welfare system, we learned about some efforts to combat this and left with a better understanding of the scope of the issue facing families that can help with our advocacy work. 

CASA Philadelphia is planning to have a spring fundraising event and party, details will be forthcoming, but in the meantime please save the date of 5/1/18 for the festivities! 

We’ll be back with more CASA Philadelphia news soon.

Best, Happi