Celebration 2021

CASA Celebration - Nets Over $1.117M 

Irvine, Calif. (October 6) – Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County, held their annual Celebration Event, on Saturday, September 18, 2021! Over 250 guests arrived to support CASA’s mission of serving abused, abandoned, and neglected children in Orange County with a trained and supported volunteer advocate. This year’s Celebration Event had a net of over $1.117M. It was an especially celebratory occasion in light of the fact that the event was live and in person - allowing the guests to reconnect after over a year apart.  It was truly a time to celebrate, and make up for lost time! In contrast to previous Celebration events, we wanted this reimmersion event to be bold and bright, with all attendees dressed in colorful cocktail chic attire. We lost the tie and loosened up for a night of pink, orange, and gold decor throughout the starlit courtyard venue. Celebration 2021 was overseen and executed by six incredibly dedicated CASA supporters who served as this year’s Chairs: Jacqueline DuPont-Carlson, Karen Jordan, Lourdes Nark, Urvashi Patel, Wendy Tenebaum, and Linda Young. 

Sponsors and ticket holders were welcomed into the courtyard for the cocktail reception before heading into the magical glow tent where dinner was served. The courtyard was beautifully transformed by the team at Elite OC Productions. A beautiful floral backdrop with a sitting swing donated by Ketel One Boutiques was such a fun interactive photo opportunity for all attendees. Guests were able to enjoy various spirit stations generously donated by Diageo with delicious paired appetizers such as caviar and ceviche. Brightly colored floral arrangements, matching the theme of the event, from Paul Fenner Floral Designs, decorated the courtyard reception.

This year’s honorees included The John & Gail Ueberroth Family Foundation as Outstanding Foundation, Lugano Diamonds as Outstanding Corporation, The Wong Family as Children’s Champions, and Nancy and Richard Eaton as our Advocates of the Year. The Eaton’s acceptance speech included some remarkable statistics about CASA’s impact on foster youth from Richard,

“The difference having a CASA makes in the future for foster kids is incredible. Over 93% graduate from high school, and being a graduate gives them opportunities most of us take for granted. Fewer than 10% of children with a CASA volunteer re-enter foster care, they are less likely to be homeless, stay out of prison, and get a good job. In other words, having a CASA is the magic ingredient in a Foster kid living a life that wasn’t going to happen and having a wide open future.”

And an excerpt from Nancy about her CASA youth, Lizeth:

“We went places: the Broad Museum to see a Jasper Johns exhibit, the San Diego Zoo, Boot Camp workouts, and even Grit Cycle. The list goes on and on. We celebrated all the holidays and celebrated birthdays in style. There were always balloons, a cake, and flowers. These were places we physically went to, but the challenge was where we went emotionally. She was always coachable, always willing to try a new way of thinking and new ways of doing things. She trusted me. She also participated in many life-skill classes that were available. One of the most amazing things is that over the years so many people have supported her. In fact, many people in this room tonight were on my ‘CASA support team’. The success of this young lady starts with her dedication to her education and her drive to work and support herself. Honestly, she is one of the hardest-working people I know. She has a boyfriend, her own apartment, works as a manager of a restaurant, and…… seriously happy. Would this have happened without a CASA? I am going to suggest it would not. This is why we are here tonight. I am happy she had someone that is consistent in her life to guide and consult with her. She means the world to Richard, Kendra, Axel, Grandma Donna, and me. She is part of our family, and we love her.”

Auctioneer, Jim Nye, helped facilitate the evening’s various auctions from the sponsor’s soundstage,  and we also heard from CASA CEO, Regan Phillips. Jim Nye energized the viewers with a mini-auction during the cocktail reception securing bids for a champagne parade to your table coupled with table-side butler service for the remainder of the evening. There were fabulous and unique items in both the live and silent auction, some of which included a private jet to Napa to experience Robb Report’s Car of the Year, an opportunity for the bidder - as well as a foster youth - to attend some highly coveted music sessions at the exclusive 1500 Sound Academy, as well as a Caviar and Dinner party hosted by Lugano Diamonds in their beautiful salon.

The evening concluded with a live performance from Grammy Award Winner, Macy Gray, culminating with her hit song “I Try” and guests on their feet dancing and singing along.  It was truly a magical and successful celebration in support of CASA’s critical mission in support of local foster youth.  Everyone seems to have a newfound appreciation for the power of connection after this past year, and our Celebration guests rallied to ensure that foster youth do not have to endure the system alone due to the life-altering connection that CASA provides.   

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