March 2021: News, Updates, and Opportunities for CASA Volunteers
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear CASA Volunteers,
Happy March! I hope you all are looking forward to a wonderful spring. This week marks the one-year anniversary of social distancing for many of us in southern Colorado. It was this week last year when several school districts announced initial closures, leading to a drop in Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline calls from mandatory reporters like teachers.
I want to express my sincerest and most heartfelt gratitude for all of you who have stood up for and stuck by our community's children during this time. I cannot believe it has been a full year, but I am hopeful the tides are changing and we will see more of each other soon.
CASA is still maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols (which you can stay updated on here), and we are still opting for mostly virtual activities over in-person events. You will start to see some hybrid events offered for those who are comfortable. Also this year, in the spirit of social distancing, we will hold a month-long “Month of Hope” campaign in place of our Light of Hope fundraiser. This campaign gives everyone the opportunity to Be a Light of Hope from Home by making a donation or by starting your own fundraising page which you can share with family and friends. Click here to learn more about getting involved with “Month of Hope!”
Despite a year's worth of challenges, CASA is still going strong! There are children who need us and we will continue to be there for them. More volunteers are always needed, so check out the upcoming Volunteer Information Sessions in the event calendar below and forward them on to any friends or family you think would make a great addition to the CASA team!
Thank you for all that you do, and if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
CASA Executive Director
Meet our newest volunteers!
Twenty-one community volunteers were sworn in as officers of the court by 4th Judicial District Judge Catherine Mitchell Helton during a CASA of the Pikes Peak Region swearing-in ceremony over Zoom in February.
Volunteer Spotlight: Paul Lemon
CASA's Supervised Exchange & Parenting Time (SEPT) Program facilitates supervised visits between children and their non-custodial parents. Paul Lemon is a long-term volunteer in this program, and he says "SEPT is a service for those who need a safe place to see their children and what I do is provide for this to happen. It is a meaningful expense of time and it's productive."
CASA "Bunny Shop" open for advocates until March 19
Make plans to come shop for the kids on your cases this week. Items available include spring jackets, pajamas, books, stuffed animals, blankets, pillowcases, and more! Items are for kids up to 12 years of age.
Information about COVID-19 vaccines for CASA Volunteers
CASA is NOT mandating for volunteers to be vaccinated. We believe vaccines are a personal choice. However, if you do choose to get a vaccine, we have created a letter that could serve as a tool to get you vaccinated sooner. Colorado CASA created this letter for all local programs in the state and we have modified it for CASA of the Pikes Peak Region. Office of the Child's Representative created a similar letter for GALs and it has proven very effective in helping GALs to receive the vaccine across Colorado. In fact, they do not know of a GAL that has been denied. To access the letter and personalize it for yourself, please click here. I ask that you do not share this letter with others as it is only for CASA volunteers.
Milton Foster Children's Fund Updates
The Hanger is now open on Saturdays from 1-3 without an appointment. Milton Foster Children's Fund is also accepting applications for summer camp funding. If you have a youth on your case who is interested in attending a summer camp, please fill out an application as soon as possible so they can get funding approved and registered. Camp spots are filling up quickly!
Ask Congress to Support Fixes to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
The VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA Fix Act) has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. National CASA/GAL Association signed on to a letter urging Members of Congress to take immediate action to pass the bill and prevent devastating cuts to federal VOCA funding for victim service programs. The bill has strong bipartisan support as well as the support of the wider stakeholder and advocacy community. Well over half of the CASA/GAL programs across the country receive VOCA funding to support their work with children - including CASA of the Pikes Peak Region which receives $100,000 per year for our program from VOCA.
The provisions in the VOCA Fix Act will greatly benefit organizations receiving VOCA funding and now we need your help to get Congress to pass these measures into law!
Visit this grassroots advocacy page to read more information that outlines the fixes and why they are important to CASA/GAL state organizations and local programs, and most importantly, the children and families served and we also encourage you to send a message to Members of Congress.
March 2021 Anniversaries
We have a lot to celebrate this month! Twenty-five CASA volunteers have anniversaries in March, including Karen Hilborn (pictured here setting up our Bunny Shop) who is in her 29th year as a CASA in the Pikes Peak Region. Thank you to everyone who serves!
Let's Celebrate during National Volunteer Appreciation Week!
We love our volunteers and want to celebrate you! A few CASA staff members will be hanging out at the café in the new boutique hotel Kinship Landing for a few hours each day of Volunteer Appreciation Week, which is April 19-23. Stop by so we can buy you a coffee and chat for a bit. You can park for free in the CASA parking lot and there are outdoor seating options to maintain social distancing. Kinship Landing has been a great neighbor to us, and we look forward to supporting them as well.
Please RSVP by emailing Crystal Erickson firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know which day to expect you.
- Monday, 04/19 (3:30pm – 5:30pm)
- Tuesday, 04/20 (9:00am – 11:00am)
- Wednesday, 04/21 (12:00pm – 2:00pm)
- Thursday, 04/22 (9:00am – 11:00am)
- Friday, 04/23 (3:30pm – 5:30pm)
It's not too late to join CASA for the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge
CASA volunteers, staff, and board members officially began the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge this month. If you were unable to attend the kick-off meeting, or if you wanted to RSVP and forgot, it is not too late to join us! Go here for more information on how to get started and feel free to RSVP late. We can still add you to our last two meetings. Just email Keri for the meeting info.
CASA of the Pikes Peak Region
418 S. Weber Street, | Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903
719-447-9898 | email@example.com