An Advocate's CASA Gala Experience

Saturday, April 22nd CASA’s annual gala took place. Aptly named “Celebration of Children”, the event netted over 1 million dollars for our agency. One million dollars from individuals and corporations in our community, because they believe in the value and necessity of CASA.

As a CASA staff, it’s easy to speak about how amazing the agency is. After all, I come to work each day to witness colleagues put their hearts in to fulfilling our mission statement. We all come to work ready and willing to do our part. Any one of us could speak on our passion for CASA and the work we do. However, I want to share an advocate’s perspective. Who better than CASA’s “Advocate of the Year”, Andrea Schoembs?

This is how Andrea describes her Celebration of Children experience:

When I heard the news that I would be receiving the 2017 Advocate of the Year award from CASA I was in disbelief. I know how hard all of the CASAs work on behalf of their kiddos so it was hard for me to comprehend why I would be singled out for such an incredible recognition. I also knew the event would be an awesome experience. Little did I know it would become one of the most memorable nights of my life!

It goes without saying that the recognition was amazing, but the most incredible part of the evening was witnessing the generosity of those who attended the event. Following my speech and the moving speech given by Honorable Judge Maria Hernandez was the annual “Fund the Mission”. Guests were asked to give donations ranging from $500 to $100,000. In what seemed like minutes over $500,000 was raised!  The energy in the room was palpable. I have been to many fundraisers and I have never seen anything like it. The more paddles that went up to give donations, the more energized the room became. In that moment I was so proud to be a part of something that I know will benefit so many wonderful children in need.

As a CASA, I’m certain that Andrea has experienced some difficulties with her case. I can imagine she has had moments she felt as though she wasn’t doing enough. She may have felt overwhelmed by the advocacy needs of her kiddo. She might have loathed the court report writing process that comes with this gig. Whatever experiences Andrea has had, she has remained committed to her kiddo. So much so that her case supervisor believed she deserved to be recognized at CASA’s biggest event.

While Andrea felt proud to be part of something bigger than herself, there were most certainly people in the room who felt proud to contribute to CASA based on what Andrea shared that evening. CASA could not exist without advocates like Andrea or generous donors that raise over $500,000 in a matter of minutes. Both are needed in order to continue to serve our foster youth.

Whichever category you find yourself in, please know we are infinitely thankful for you!

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