Since the holiday months, there has been a steady stream of advocates and their CASA youth cooking in
CASA’s kitchen. This has been a particularly pleasant experience for the case supervisors as the hunger
inducing aromas waft down the hall. It’s safe to say the smell of cookies, cupcakes, and other sweet
treats is an office favorite. Even better than the yummy aromas is witnessing these youth in the kitchen.
For many, this is the first time that they’ve cooked or baked regardless of age.
Depending on when you peek your head in, you’ll find the youth looking fiercely determined to carry out
their advocate’s instructions, or laughing and smiling as they decorate their treats or joke about
mistakes made. You’ll find the advocate patiently explaining things and praising their youth for their
effort and skills. These moments are greatly appreciated because as case supervisors, the opportunities
to see our advocates with their youth are few and far between. Whether the relationship is a new one
or the advocate has been on the case for several years, there’s an unmistakable joy to be together. As if
that isn’t heart-melting enough, seeing a youth’s pride in themselves when they get something right.
During one of these kitchen sessions in which at least 2 dozen cookies were being baked and decorated,
our Chief Program Officer, Regan Phillips popped her head in to say hello. I happened to be walking to
the kitchen to check in on my advocate and youth when I overheard the best thing I’d heard all day.
Claire*, my advocate had just finished explaining to Regan that this was 7-year- old Liz’s* first time
baking. Regan complimented Liz on how well she was doing, saying, “Wow. Well you must be a fast
learner if this is your first time!” To which Liz replied, “I am a fast learner because I’m really smart!”
Claire, Regan, and myself could only agree with that declaration. To see Liz’s excitement in baking and
decorating, was great a pleasure all on its own. But to hear Liz confidently exclaim her smarts took the
cake (pun intended)!
In the CASA kitchen, it seems everything else falls away. Here, they are determined, happy, and
undoubtedly getting amped up on the sugary decorations they think they are sneaking. These kiddos
likely face daily reminders of the fact that they are foster youth, whether it be classmates wondering
why different people pick them up from school on different days, or at a doctor appointment where a
staff person is writing their job title next to their signature when signing documents. One could say even
being in the CASA kitchen is a reminder, and they would be right. Yet for some reason, these visits are
full of nothing but joy. And though the aromas eventually fade, in what seems to be a new unspoken
rule, advocates and their youth leave lovely thank yous on our whiteboard.
Thus far, there hasn’t been a single time that the finished result wasn’t eagerly offered to be shared.
And who can turn away a child offering up cupcakes and cookies with at least 7 times the daily
recommendation of sugar. I know I couldn’t! I can confidently say that our entire office enjoys our
visiting sous chefs and advocates and returns are always encouraged.
If you’d like to reserve CASA’s kitchen please contact your case supervisor. We’ll see you soon!
CASA of Orange County is thrilled to show off the graduates from our January Training Session. Twelve of our new fifteen CASA volunteers were sworn-in by Judge Maria Hernandez last week at our offices in Santa Ana. We are looking forward to matching up these new CASA advocates with children on our wait list. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to our 30 new advocates who were sworn-in last week by Judge Moorhead! We are excited to get all of these amazing new volunteers matched up with some of the 280+ kids that are currently on our wait list. Congratulations to you all and we are looking forward to seeing you all begin your journey of being matched with a child in our program!
Director of Outreach
Santa Ana, Calif. (December 14, 2016) – Friends of CASA, a fundraising auxiliary of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), hosted its 2016 Holiday Luncheon on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at The Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point. The Luncheon and Fashion Show proved a hard ticket to come by as the event was sold out prior to invitations even hitting mailboxes. This year’s event netted more than $344,000 that will go directly to supporting CASA’s mission of recruiting, training, and supervising community volunteers who mentor and advocate for children in the foster care system. Top Tier Diamond Starfish Sponsors of this event included Barclay Butera Interiors and Lugano Diamonds.
The sophisticated yet modern event was co-chaired by Molly Jolly and Kimberly DeLamar Matties, who were assisted by a team of over 60 members from the Friends of CASA auxiliary group, which is led by Interim President and CASA CEO, Kathryn Seebold. This year’s event also had two Masters of Ceremonies, Barclay Butera and Ray Langhammer of Barclay Butera Interiors, who brought their unwavering passion of helping CASA forward throughout the event. Over 600 guests filled the halls outside of the ballroom to bid on 166 auction packages during the champagne reception. The 2016 Fashion Partner, Ted Baker London, presented by South Coast Plaza featured both women and men’s fashions. The runway show brought forth an irreverent sense of humor and unswerving attention to detail through the British brand’s known unconventional approach to fashion.
The guest speaker for the event was current CASA volunteer, Rhonda Beylik. Rhonda shared her story of coming to CASA four years ago and being matched with “a beautiful, petite, brown eyed, dimpled 14 year-old girl”. One of Rhonda’s first assignments as a CASA volunteer was to ask this young girl what she would like as a “Starfish Wish” – which are special gift items that guests of the Holiday Luncheon are able to pick off of the Starfish Trees and purchase for the kids that CASA services. Rhonda’s child asked for a camera one year, so that she could make memories, an opportunity to go YMCA Camp Fox in Catalina another year after years of being afraid of telling her peers what she did over the summer – as she never had opportunities to do anything fun or exciting, and this past year told her CASA that she had everything she needed – and didn’t have a wish “Have you ever in your life, ever heard a teenager say those words?”, Rhonda asked the crowd. Rhonda ended her story by sharing the good news that her CASA child is the first person in her family to graduate from high school and also attend college – a true success story with the help of her CASA volunteer.
An opportunity drawing donated by Lugano Diamonds featured a 5.49 Pear Shape Black Diamond pendant with .75cts Round Brilliant Collection VS Diamonds and an additional 5cts Black Diamonds set in 18k White Gold and valued at $25,000 was won by Tyler Matthew Olbres.
Friends of CASA are committed to raising funds for CASA of Orange County’s mentor-advocate program for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. Through the annual Holiday Luncheon, the Friends of CASA raise awareness of the CASA program, recruiting volunteers and long-term donors to CASA. Over the years, this dedicated group of women has been responsible for raising well over 2 million dollars that has gone directly to addressing the needs of some of our community’s most vulnerable children. This year’s Executive Committee of the Holiday Luncheon consisted of Stacie Capobianco, Elizabeth Carpino, Tiffanie Foster, Sandra Gee, Annette Helmich, Shawni Jackson, Lori Jackson, Patty Juarez, Sandi Marino, Colleen Masterson, Stefanie Stamires, Janine Wald, Jaynine Warner, Tracy Wiegand, Kristen Wilson and Marjie Zethraus.
About CASA of Orange County
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County is a privately-funded non-profit organization that serves severely abused, neglected and abandoned children through the recruitment, training and continued support of volunteers who advocate and mentor these children, representing their best interest in the courtroom and other settings. Founded in 1985, with major support from the Junior League of Orange County, we serve annually approximately 750 of the children who move through our court system as a direct cause of abuse and neglect. We are able to serve these children through the generous support of those who donate to CASA as well as the immeasurable compassion and commitment of our CASA advocates. At CASA of Orange County, our mantra is I am for the Child. Learn more about the ways to give to CASA as a means to help us support and protect the rights of our county’s valued children and to give them the nurturing and stability that they deserve. Please visit www.casaoc.org to learn more.
Thank you to all of our wonderful community partners who helped make our Annual Holiday Party for the CASA Kids so successful! We couldn't have done it without YOU!
Atrium Irvine, LLC c/o Transwestern
Indian Princess Tribe of Tustin
DJ Jarom Smith
Kappa Alpha Theta South OC Alumni Chapter
Laguna Woods Volunteers
Linda Siegel & Family
National Charity League (Alumni Group)
Small Business Growth Alliance
US Black Belt Academy
Women in God's Spirit (WINGS)
Festival of Children Foundation is kicking off their 15th annual celebration at South Coast Plaza and CASA-OC is so excited to be part of it again. Check out the link below to a great article from the LA Times that details some of the exciting things planned this year.
Photograph featured is from the kick-off event that happened earlier this week - from left to right, CASA Case Supervisors, Karyn Quick & Dorit Harrell, Festival of Children Foundation Founder, Sandy Segerstrom-Daniels, and CASA Family Connections Coordinator, Sylvia Novakoff
CASA of Orange County - Court Appointed Special Advocates is so excited for our new partnership with Goodwill of Orange County! Do you have stuff around your house that you aren't using anymore and have been meaning to donate? Now is the time! Please drop off your items to the Goodwill location at 1800 North Grand in Santa Ana, and let them know that you were referred by Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA will receive credit for your donated items that we will be able to give back to our older CASA youth in the form of gift vouchers to go shopping and purchase stuff of their own. Your donated gift items will essentially go twice as far in helping others!
CASA of Orange County would like to extend a public notice of appreciation to the kind folks at Workplace Solutions. This wonderful company was able to assist our non-profit with a long overdue office beautification project. Our office has been updated with new chairs, desks, couches, artwork, and shelving units - and one of the best perks of all of this, was that they were able to take out our old furniture for us, and install all of the new stuff as well. Thank you so much!!!
CASA of Orange County is very excited to show off our new web-site to all of you!
We have some amazing people to thank who helped make this thing possible: Matt Barnes, Stacy Barnes, Nicole Solis, Belinda Carter, Alex Pavone, Soni Lazor, Joel Stanton, Taylor Stark, Brad Claypool & the rest of the team from Rogue Creative Development.
All photographs on the web-site are courtesy of Classic Kids Photography. Special thanks and appreciation to founder and CEO Julie Floyd, Chief Operations and Marketing Officer Tera Landman, head photographer for the Newport Beach studio location Jenn Sturtevant and Austin Kuhn.
We'd also like to thank friends and family of the CASA staff who served as our models for the beautiful photoshoot.
Congratulations to our July 2016 Training Class which brought 27 newly sworn-in CASA's to our agency. We are so excited to have all these amazing volunteers joining our team to help children in the foster care system!
Join CASA of Orange County at the 2nd Annual Shopping Extravaganza taking place at the Outlets of San Clemente!
Tickets to this special event are $35.00 and include exclusive discounts at more than 50 stores, a private catered lunch, live entertainment, VIP wine & craft beer trastings, and over $40,000 in prizes including gift cards to some of the fabulous stores. The best part - $25.00 from your $35.00 ticket price will be donated directly to CASA-OC!
This year's event will be taking place on Saturday, October 8, 2016 from 10am-8pm
Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.shopOSC.com/Tickets
Court Appointed Special Advocates netted over $25,000 at the Second Annual CASA Cup fundraiser. Seventeen teams of 10 dressed in lavish costumes boarded decorated Duffy boats and headed into the Newport Peninsula on a scavenger hunt that included stops at Pizza Nova, where teams had to order a special drink to get a point and also to the Balboa Bay Club where teams had to build a sand castle. Trivia questions regarding the non-profit and Newport Peninsula were also part of the fun scavenger hunt.
Following the scavenger hunt, over 160 guests were invited to a barbecue at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, that featured summer staples like hamburgers, hot dogs, and cold beer. CASA-OC CEO, Kathryn Seebold took the stage to announce the winner of the CASA Cup and also the team with Most Spirit, IdeaHall, led by Rebecca and Randy Hall.
About Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County is a privately-funded non-profit organization that serves severely abused, neglected and abandoned children through the recruitment, training and continued support of volunteers who advocate and mentor these children, representing their best interest in the courtroom and other settings. Founded in 1985, with major support from the Junior League of Orange County, we serve annually approximately 1,000 of the children who move through our court system as a direct cause of abuse and neglect. We are able to serve these children through the generous support of those who donate to CASA as well as the immeasurable compassion and commitment of our CASA advocates. At CASA of Orange County, our mantra is I am for the Child. Learn more about the ways to give to CASA as a means to help us support and protect the rights of our county’s valued children and to give them the nurturing and stability that they deserve. Please visit www.casaoc.org to learn more.
# # #
Over 75 guests showed up at The Village on 17th Street for the first annual CASA Hispanic Advisory Council Cinco de Mayo Meet & Greet. Guests enjoyed tacos and margaritas while listening to Keynote Speaker, Stephanie Serrano share her story of life in the foster care system and the difference that her CASA made in it. There was a Congressional Recognition Ceremony to Judge Aguirre for his devotion to our community over the years and his support of CASA and the need for more Hispanic/Latino volunteers.