CASA Celebrates 40th Anniversary
February 1, 2017 - It takes vision and more than a little moxie to change the course of society. In 1977, Sr. Margaret Freeman did just that by founding what would become CASA, the official domestic violence center for southern Pinellas County, Florida. This year CASA proudly celebrates its 40th Anniversary as a leader in the movement to end domestic violence.
CASA has much to celebrate, indeed.Over the past four decades it has helped develop an entire infrastructure of support services and partnerships with allied agencies united to protect women, children and men from domestic violence. It is a founding member of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (now comprised of 42 certified domestic violence centers), and is a member of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
”We are all amazed at the organization CASA has blossomed into over the years,” said CASA’s Interim Executive Director Suzanne Horn. “To some, the problem of domestic violence can seem insurmountable. They read statistics showing 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men are domestic violence survivors and feel overwhelmed. But that is not what happens in our community. Instead, we treasure the victory of each person who escapes an abusive home and builds a successful life free from violence.”
CASA has grown from an 8-bed shelter in 1977 into an organization serving thousands of people each year in our new 133-bed domestic violence center, community center and children’s Peacemaker’s Program. Along with that incredible enhancement in services, however, comes an enormous increase in expenses the organization must cover from private donors.
CASA will celebrate its birthday at its annual “A Good Night’s Sleep” dessert luncheon on April 7, 2017, a fun event that will raise funds critically needed in order to continue operating all its programs and services. Event tickets, sponsorships and information are available at www.casa-stpete.org/AGoodNightsSleep.
CASA serves people in all stages of domestic violence, including those currently in a relationship with an abuser, those in the process of escaping the violence, and individuals who have attained a greater level of safety but are still dealing with trauma, legal battles, joint custody and other issues. Perhaps most famously, it operates the region’s 24-hour hotline and a 133-bed emergency domestic violence center that provides safe housing, support groups and a staffed resource center to help participants attaining economic independence and affordable housing.
CASA also works to end the generational cycle of violence by assisting the Pinellas County Child Protection Investigative Department and running the Peacemakers Violence Prevention Program in collaboration with RCS Pinellas. The Peacemakers program provides instructors and course materials in violence prevention, bullying and teen dating violence, at absolutely no cost to Pre-K, Elementary and Middle School classes.
ANNIVERSARY GIFT TO CASA:
Your financial support is vital. Your volunteer support is crucial. Your empathy, caring and support are the lifeblood of our movement.