CASA of SB County – The Balance Sheet

Advocating for Kids

By Katrina McDowell on Nov 17, 2022 in Giving

Yardi is committed to supporting the community in every city where our offices are housed. Each year, the company distributes philanthropic aid to organizations selected by its employees.

In 2021, Yardi offices supported more than 350 non-profits worldwide. For the remainder of the year, we will be bringing you the stories of those organizations and insight into how they aid their communities.

Today, meet the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County. Founded in 1993, 2023 will mark a significant milestone for CASA as they begin their 30th year of advocacy for children in the foster care system.

CASA kid with glasses

The CASA program recruits, screens, and trains community volunteers sworn in by the country to advocate for a child who has experienced abuse and neglect.

“Once assigned to a child’s case, our professional team of Advocate Supervisors engages, empowers, and guides our CASA volunteers with training, case management, supervision, technical assistance, and support as they advocate for our community’s most vulnerable children,” shares Crystal Sullins , donor relations and grants manager for CASA.

CASA is the only non-profit organization that exclusively advocates for children while in the protective care of the court. When a child enters the court system due to abuse or neglect, a judge appoints a CASA volunteer to advocate on the child’s behalf.

“No child should have to navigate the foster care system alone, so having a highly trained CASA volunteer by their side empowers children and gives them a voice in court,” said Sullins.

Donations from Yardi help ensure that CASA can continue recruiting, training, supervising, and supporting the volunteers needed to maintain CASA operations and help build program capacity to serve every child. The CASA program is nationally recognized as a powerful tool for improving positive outcomes for children in foster care. Studies show that children with a CASA volunteer spend a shorter amount of time in foster care and are less likely to re-enter protective custody.

A dynamic duo

CASA volunteer Anne had just begun to serve the case of six-year-old Mia, who came into foster care when her parents were deemed unfit to care for her due to drug addiction.

On their first outing together, Anne took Mia to McDonald’s and told her to pick anything she wanted on the menu. Mia looked at Anne and told her “I can’t see.”

Mia desperately needed glasses because her eyesight was so bad and no one had even noticed. On that very day, Anne went to work advocating with an eye doctor and CASA covered the cost of Mia’s first pair of glasses.

Anne said she will never forget when Mia put on her glasses for the first time. “It was an emotional and unforgettable moment because it was the first time this child could see objects, colors, and her CASA’s face,” shared Anne.

Volunteer Opportunities

“By supporting CASA, you are bringing hope to children who have endured the trauma of abuse and neglect,” said Sullins. “You are helping them thrive, and we sincerely thank you for helping us change a child’s story.”

CASA volunteers are everyday people who support children in crisis.

“We’ve had Yardi staff serve as CASA volunteers and even come back and talk at the (Santa Barbara office) Lunch and Learn meetings with us, which just speaks volumes about the great company culture at Yardi,” shared Sullins.

If a Yardi employee would like to become a CASA volunteer, get in touch with CASA’s recruitment and training coordinator, Tina Fischer at [email protected] or call/text 805-868-8890) or visit online to learn more about volunteer opportunities and the application process here.

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