Stars at the Trail: CASA of Travis County
We’re showcasing our Stars of the Trail organizations in a holiday blog post series to help Austinites get to know the nonprofits that are dedicated to serving Austin’s most deserving citizens. Today, we’re featuring CASA of Travis County.
This the fourth year the organization has participated in the Stars at the Trail tradition; for them, it’s a great opportunity for kids to participate in one of Austin’s longstanding traditions. “We really appreciate all the efforts that goes into making this event possible, especially the special moments the team creates for everyone who attends.
Interested in helping? Here’s how: CASA is always looking for more volunteers to speak up for children who’ve been through abuse or neglect, and for donors to help us continue to recruit, screen, train and support these volunteers.
Advocating for Children All Year Long
Tell us about your organization: What is its mission/what are you most passionate about?
CASA of Travis County speaks up for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering our community to volunteer as advocates for them in the court system. When the state steps in to protect a child’s safety, a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations in the child’s best interest.
What are three things you want the community to know about your organization?
Children with CASA volunteers are more likely to end up with family. Of the 808 children’s cases closed with the help of CASA last year, 53% were reunified with their parents and 26% were adopted by or live permanently with relatives.
National CASA reports that children with CASA volunteers are more likely to get support they need. This includes receiving therapy, health care and education, more likely to do better in school, less likely to be bounced from one place to another, less likely to get stuck in long-term foster care, and significantly more likely to reach safe, permanent homes.
CASA answers the question: “What can I do about child abuse?” CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and are committed to improving children’s lives, have a willingness to learn and have an open mind toward life experiences different from their own. No special education, experience or background is needed.
How can the Austin community support your organization?
Donate here! All cash donations to CASA of Travis County through December 31, 2017 will be tripled, thanks to a 2-to-1 matching gift opportunity. This holiday season, we also need gift cards to Walmart and Target as part of our holiday toy drive – find out more here. And, in 2018, join us for a night dedicated to creating brighter futures for children at our 25th annual CASAblanca Gala, scheduled for February 3 at the JW Marriott Austin.
What is your organization looking forward to most in the new year?
CASA of Travis County has plans to serve more children under the age of 5 (we are currently automatically appointed to all children ages 5 and up in the Travis County Child Protective Services court system). This means raising more funds and growing our number of active CASA volunteers, and we’re going to need the community’s help to make it happen.