Message from the Executive Director
I hope your 2023 is off to a good start! This year CASA of DuPage is celebrating our 30th anniversary of advocating for children in DuPage County. We will be sharing special historical moments with you throughout the year. This month, we also celebrate 20 years of service from our Program Director, Kathie Paravola.
The need for our services has been tremendous in the past few months, as sadly we have seen a substantial surge in the number of children removed from unsafe homes in DuPage county. In fact, in the last six months of 2022, our cases nearly doubled from the first six months of the year.
We are committed to serving every child assigned to CASA through the juvenile court system. Our team continues to adjust to their increased workload as we reallocate resources to serve more children. A training class of 22 new advocates will begin this month and we will begin assigning them to new cases in March. If you or someone you know may be interested in becoming a CASA volunteer advocate, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please click on this link below to learn more about becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate for a child in DuPage county.
Our community is vital to the success of CASA’s child advocacy program, serving the needs and best interests of vulnerable children. We sincerely appreciate all you do to keep the CASA mission close to your heart.
Meet Stefanie Brandt,
An Extraordinary Advocate
"I want to be there to encourage her, help her and guide her, because I’m the only person she’s got.”
Stefanie has been an advocate since March 2015 and appointed to two cases during that time. She first got involved with CASA when the minister at her church announced ways the congregation can help in the community—CASA was one of the organizations mentioned and she made the decision to become an advocate.
With her background in education CASA work came natural to Stefanie. Her first case assignment was with an infant girl. For the next four years, Stephanie advocated for this baby girl while she worked with the grandmother who would eventually adopt her granddaughter when she was four years old. Stephanie visited her preschool, talked with her teachers, and help the grandmother prepare her home. She even helped at Christmastime to set up toys.
Stefanie’s second case was with a 9-year old girl, she’s been with her for the past 8 years. The girl is now 17 years old and currently living in a residential facility specializing in the type of services she needs. She said she will most likely be with her until she ages out of the system at 21, when she hopes to still be part of her life. Stefanie tells us despite the challenges this girl has faced, her teen has a great personality, and is able to make connections with many different types of people. She enjoys art, makeup, hair and nails and would like to attend cosmetology school one day. At one of her visits, Stefanie brought her a mannequin for her to practice on until she enrolls in the beauty program.
Stefanie remains a CASA for this teen girl—as she is the only consistent adult in her life and the one who carries all of her history. This young woman has been in the foster care system since she was 3 years old, in and out of foster homes, and residential facilities. She has no contact with any family members, including her two younger siblings who were adopted by one of her previous foster families. Stefanie told us, “I can’t even imagine not being a CASA right now." In reference to her current case, "I want to be there to encourage her, help her and guide her, because I’m the only person she’s got.”
Stefanie's perspective after eight years of advocate experience, “It's funny, after you leave training, you have a picture in your mind of how your first case is going to go. Then it goes in a completely different direction, and you just have to roll with it.”
Her favorite thing about CASA is hoping children will land in the right spot and there is some sort of resolution to their situation. Hope is what keeps her going during the difficult times.
Stefanie lives in Elmhurst with her three teen children and has also been teaching pre-school for the past 5 years.
Thank you, Stefanie for being an extraordinary advocate!
Registration Now Open!
CASA Golf Classic 2023
You are cordially invited to CASA of DuPage County's 30th Anniversary Golf Classic on Wednesday, May 17th at the beautiful Cantigny Golf in Wheaton.
It will be a day to remember with an amazing day of golf, engaging contests and games, distinctive raffle items, extraordinary live auction items, and an entertaining time with friends, all while raising funds and celebrating CASA's rich 30-year history of providing advocacy for children.
There are several opportunities available to participate! Sponsorships and hole signs range from $300 to $7,500, all with various benefits including golf and name/logo recognition for your organization across several media outlets and signage. We welcome you to come and golf, purchase a foursome, or simply join us for the evening reception, dinner and program.
Watch your mailbox for the invitation and RSVP card or click below now to register online! If you have questions or would like more information, contact Vicki Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Thank You CASA 30th Anniversary
Pearl Event Sponsors
These generous companies have sponsored the Golf Classic and/or Pearl Gala in celebration of CASA of DuPage County's 30th Anniversary Year 2023! For more information on how to participate, please contact Vicki Shaw at email@example.com.
Thank you for your support, allowing CASA to advocate for vulnerable children within DuPage County. We are proud to share our impact on the community in 2022:
• 412 abused and neglected children, as well as children in need of a guardian, were connected with a trained, caring adult who spent time getting to know them, representing their best interests in the court and in the community. Often a CASA volunteer advocate is the only stable adult in a child’s life.
• 27 new volunteers were recruited, trained and sworn in by a DuPage County judge as an official Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
• 179 CASA volunteers supported children who are victims of abuse and neglect by visiting with them, talking with family members, foster parents, teachers and counselors, and connecting them with resources, and writing reports for the court to help judges make informed decisions in the child’s best interests.
• Volunteers spent 4,908 hours visiting with children, participating in meetings with educators, attending graduation ceremonies, reading together, helping with homework, in addition to attending court hearings to share their observations with the court and represent the best interests of each child.
• Distributed $16,183 in small grants to 57 young adults to help with costs for extra-curricular activities, college entrance exams, laptops, lab fees and other incidental costs for education, employment and living expenses.
• Books, games, school supplies and nearly $3,000 in gift cards were donated and distributed to advocates to assure children had necessities and supplies.
Celebrating 20 years of service
This year is one of celebrations for CASA of DuPage County! Not only are we celebrating 30 years of child advocacy in our community, but Kathie Paravola, our Program Director has a 20-year milestone with CASA of DuPage.
After practicing as a private attorney for 10 years, Kathie became a volunteer advocate with CASA DuPage in 1999 and later joined the staff in 2003 as an Advocate Supervisor.
Today, as Program Director, Kathie is responsible for all aspects of our advocacy program from recruiting and training volunteer advocates to advising advocate supervisors, ensuring the CASA's high standards of service are maintained. Kathie is tracking outcomes and implementing new program initiatives as CASA continues to do all we can for children who have been abused, neglected or are in need of a guardian.
The mission of DuPage County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is to recruit, train and support volunteer advocates to effectively speak to the best interests of abused, neglected, and vulnerable children in the DuPage County court system.
CASA’s vision is that every child deserves a safe, permanent, nurturing home.
Visit our website at dupagecasa.org to learn more!
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