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24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline:
(727) 895-4912 | TTY: (727) 828-1269
Outside Pinellas County: (800) 500-1119 | TDD: (800) 621-4202

August 2016- articles

CASA Looking for a Few Good “Investors!”

By John Biesinger

Most financial planners suggest you review your investment account, IRA, and 401(k) retirement accounts regularly, or at least annually, to make sure your assets are performing as expected.  Those same professionals also know that regular contributions to your account insure these accounts will grow over time, beat inflationary pressures, and provide enough cash flow to maintain your lifestyle.  Why should your investment account at CASA be any different?

Simply put, it isn’t!  We all measure our investments carefully, examining their growth and performance, the confidence we have in the assets chosen, and the return we get from our overall account.  We regularly contribute additional funds to our investment accounts each month, or each year, or each paycheck.  So let’s take a look at how your CASA Investment Account is performing.

Our old domestic violence shelter could house a total of 30 women and children on any given day.  One year ago, your CASA investment helped open a new shelter that provides safe haven and a comfortable environment to over 100 women and children each and every day!  That alone is a return of over 300% on your CASA investment, but there’s more.  With three and a half times the number of survivors and children in residence, your investment bought three healthy meals a day for each of them, kept the electric and water running, provided fresh linens and personal products, 24/7 staffing, and so much more.  Hundreds of survivors utilized our new Resource Center to obtain jobs, find housing, pursue educational goals, receive legal assistance, and obtain transportation so they could begin new lives in a world away from their abuser.  In fact, I don’t have space in this article to list all the other returns your CASA investment have generated….but there will be more investment news coming to you shortly!

So let’s finish up this CASA investment review with a reminder…..keep up that re-investment program as we certainly don’t want your investments to stagnate.  Consider setting up a multi-year contribution program or even a significant major gift so CASA can continue reporting some really amazing returns on your investment to end the pain and suffering of domestic violence in our community.  Call or email me at the contact info listed below and let’s discuss your CASA re-investment plan.  Together, we are going to generate some astounding returns!

- John Biesinger is CASA’s Manager of Major Gifts. He welcomes reader comments about the article and questions about how to support CASA. John can be reached at (727) 895-4912 x105 and jbiesinger@casa-stpete.org. To donate online visit www.casa-stpete.org/donate.

For help with a domestic violence issue contact CASA's 24-hour helpline: 727-895-4912

The Strong One

“The Strong One” - A Story Written by My Daughter.

It all began back in 1972 when I made a choice to stand by my conviction that love would prevail over all obstacles. I left my parents home and moved in with my boyfriend when I was only 17 years old.  By the end of the year, I gave birth to my first child. I was a “teen mom” (that phrase had not even been coined at that time). Soon after the birth, my boyfriend shoved me up against a window pane in our bedroom. This was the first act of physical abuse that he perpetrated.

From that day on, I lived through a montage of domestic violence experiences. Many are too painful for me to describe, as in doing so, I am reliving them. I had 3 more children over the 23 years I was with my abuser. We had many good times. But as the bad increasingly outweighed the good, I started to prepare for a way to get away from him. Over the next 5 years I earned an education, first by getting my GED and then graduating from a 2-year program at the local state college. 

My abuser acted like he was proud of each of my accomplishment I had made along the way, but he knew I was doing what I needed to do to leave him and raise my children on my own.  The abuse increased, as did his use of alcohol and drugs. 

Right after I graduated college, I got my first significant job where I began to earn enough money to begin the discussion of a divorce.  That discussion, of course, did not go over well. Thankfully his actions were now being monitored by both children’s services and the district court.  He reluctantly moved out, but kept trying to come back. 

He made a critical mistake by kidnapping me outside my home with my children as witnesses.  He fled off with me in our van at a very high speed. My children, who ranged in ages from 18 to 8 years old, called the police. The police put out an APB and a very concerned off-duty State Trooper went looking around an area that he thought we might be headed and he spotted our van. He called in for backup.

My abuser was arrested that night. I did not see him for the next 10 months as he awaited a trial date while detained in jail.  We accepted a plea deal where he served time in jail and my children did not have to testify at trial.

My children and I tried to get back some semblance of a normal life, but that proved to be a struggle.  We all suffered from PTSD and it was hard to leave our baggage at the door as we went into work and school.  But we managed. 

My youngest daughter, who was in high school a year or two later, was given a class assignment to write an essay about someone who has been an inspiration either directly or indirectly in her life.  My daughter wrote about me. Unfortunately, over the years we lost the essay and I do not have her exact words, but the title was:

 “The Strong One!”

My daughter expressed her love for me and her profound appreciation to me for making a safe home for her and her younger brother and older sisters.  She talked about how I almost lost my life to save hers. I knew at that moment when I read her essay, that I had truly saved her life and the lives of my children. It’s funny since in the beginning I stayed for my children, and later realized I needed to leave to save my children!

I am not going to identify myself as I have worked hard to change my life and move forward over these many years.  I am happy to report that I have 4 wonderful grown children who have given me 10 beautiful grandchildren!

"On the Move Packs"

Help a survivor family get started in their new home by providing a starter kit!

Many of CASA’s survivors, transitioning from shelter to their new home, have only a few of their own personal possessions to bring with them. It can be an overwhelming (and expensive!) task to purchase the most basic necessities for their home.

In an effort to eliminate this obstacle for our survivors, we would like to give each survivor/family an “on the move” pack. You can support this effort by purchasing items listed below, making a $50 donation or donating gift cards from Walmart, Targets or any of the dollar stores. 

Or next time you get together with friends, create an "On the Move" pack of your own!

Please consider investing in this important giving opportunity to assist a survivor and their children on their new journey! 

Suggested items to include:

Pot and frying pan
Measuring cup
Oven mitt
Plates, bowls, cups, glasses, silverware (4 piece set)
Cleaning products: laundry & dish soap, sponge, personal hygiene products


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