2012 'A Good Night's Sleep' Fills the Room
This year's A Good Night's Sleep Lunch attendance exceeded expectations - not a seat left in the room! An additional 60 people attended and 15% more in donations was raised above totals for last year. The comments ranged from "A beautiful and heartfelt presentation." to "I learned a lot about CASA programs that made me want to donate more!"
Executive Director, Linda Osmundson, welcomed attendees and thanked them for their support. She also directed staff members, all of whom were wearing clothing purchased at the CASA Collections Thrift Shoppe, to stand and model the great finds available there.
Audrey Mabrey, heroic survivor of a near fatal burning incident at the hands of her former husband, was the Keynote Speaker at A Good Night's Sleep. She is pictured with the MC's from ABC Action News, Jamison Uhler, and Lissette Campos, who is also WFTS's Community Affairs Director. Audrey shared what she has learned about the services CASA offers to victims of domestic violence, and how those services would have helped her in her experience of violence. Her presentation made a powerful impact on the audience - a 'this is what it's really like' viewpoint on domestic violence and the needs that CASA meets in our community.
Rich Pegram, Vice President and General Manager of WFTS, ABC Action News, accepts the Pillar of Peace Award on behalf of the ABC Action News teams' Taking Action Against Domestic Violence initiative, now in its fourth year. The initiative has produced hour-long television presentations, aired in prime time, revealing the faces of domestic violence in the five-county area of West Central Florida. The initiative is going strong and is responsible for a vastly increased awareness of the issue in our West Central Florida communities.
Julie Weintraub of Hands Across the Bay, a Tampa Bay nonprofit, accepts a greeting from Jennifer McVan, a producer at ABC Action News (who produced a story about Team Hope at the CASA Transitional Housing), as Lissette Campos and Julie's step-mother,
Maureen Manns, look on. Julie is an ongoing supporter of CASA programs.
The Girlfriends of Isla del Sol came to A Good Night's Sleep to fill three tables and to extend their already generous support of CASA!
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The CASA Youth Center
Swings into Summer
by Lauren Klinger
Remember when teachers used to assign “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” essays at the start of the new school year? Maybe you racked your brain to think of how to spin a summer of kickball, sunburns, and lemonade stands into a decent story, or maybe you suddenly went blank, and not even the road trip to Aunt Linda’s seemed essay-worthy. This September, if the kids who live in CASA’s transitional housing apartments have to write those essays, they’ll have plenty to write about.
CASA’s Youth Center summer program gets underway when school lets out at the beginning of June, and the staff couldn’t be more excited. Youth Center Director Charlene says that hands down, the best part of her job is the kids. “I can be sitting at my computer, my head pounding – and when they get here, it goes away,” she says.
Charlene will oversee the transition from the current Youth Center to the new one, which is scheduled to open in September, and the transition from the afterschool program to the summer program, during which kids as young as kindergarten-aged and as old as middle-school-aged will spend up to nine hours a day at the Youth Center or on field trips.
This year, the kids in the summer program will get to participate in a lot of activities with guest speakers, including a fun day with a visiting clown, and a presentation from Gabe Vargo, of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Most years, the Coast Guard gives the kids a tour, where they’ll be able to see carrier planes and even sit in helicopters.
The summer program is fun for the kids, says Renee, a Youth Advocate. Even the kids who are shy or hesitant at first usually open up and enjoy coming to the Youth Center, which is licensed as an R’Club. “They get excited to come to R’Club,” Renee says. “Their eyes light up. It sort of opens up their world to new experiences.”
Both Amber, another CASA Youth Advocate, and Charlene smile when they mention a boy who was unenthusiastic about the youth center at first. He was one of the first middle-schoolers to participate in the summer program. At first, he was sarcastic and standoffish, Charlene says. He wouldn’t show that he was happy or excited. At one point in the summer, he had been coming every day to the Youth Center.
“It turned out that his mom had been on vacation for a week!” Charlene says. So despite not having to be at the Youth Center, he came anyway. “He had a good summer,” Charlene says. When he was a junior in high school, he came to the Youth Center’s annual “Night of Jazz” event, and he brought his girlfriend. Charlene says, “We will be at his graduation.”
Dealing with domestic violence and the logistics of life afterwards is heavy, and kids who live in CASA’s transitional housing apartments have gone through things that no kid should have to endure. The Youth Center staff aims to lift some of that burden and provide kids a safe space. “They have to let it go and be a kid again,” Charlene says.
Lauren Klinger is a social media consultant for the Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County and also teachs media writing at both USF and the University of Tampa. She has experience working as a community educator in high schools and middle schools for the domestic violence center, My Sister's Place, in Westchester County, New York. CASA welcomes Lauren as a new CASA Volunteer.
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Volunteer Nicole Wheeler with CASA Volunteer Coordinator, Danielle Schaffer, at the Injunction Room at the court house in St. Petersburg. Nicole has completed a year of volunteering, aiding victims of domestic violence with the process of filing an injunction to restrict their abusers access to them. CASA staff and participants, celebrate volunteers like Nicole who make such a difference to the lives of survivors in Pinellas County! Call Danielle at (727) 895-4912 x 107 or e-mail email@example.com to learn about the many and varied volunteer opportunities at CASA.
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Denise Soffos (second from left) and the Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) group from Largo High School have been collecting items for CASA participants in support of survivors of domestic violence. Next year the group plans to tour CASA and see for themselves how their donations make a real difference!
If you would like to visit CASA for a tour, please call Katherine Lenel, Donor Relations Coordinator, at (727) 895-4912 x 101 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Leave a Legacy when planning your estate.
Including the following information for your bequest will allow you to impact the future of survivors of domestic violence and their children:
Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA)
P.O. Box 414
St. Petersburg, Florida 33731
Federal Tax I.D. #59-2114359
For more information, contact Stuart Berger, Development Director, at (727) 895-4912 x 114,
or e-mail email@example.com
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