June has arrived!

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We are in the last month of our fiscal year here at Fairfax CASA. What a wonderful quarter it has been for our organization!

On Saturday, May 2nd, the 5th Annual Fairfax Run for the Children 8k race and 3k run/walk started and finished at the Fairfax County Courthouse Complex. 422 runners and walkers registered for this beloved event and once again, the morning was a fun-filled, successful event for Fairfax CASA. We are happy to report that this year’s race brought in over $81,000 in sponsorships, donations and registrations.

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s race! See race results here.

1st place 8K overall: Female: Shauneen Werlinger. Male: Evan Weisel.
1st Place 3K overall: Female: Rachael Lee. Male: Chad Rink

1st Place 8K Team overall: Team Axiom
1st Place 3K Team overall: Team Hilton Dulles

Top fundraising team: Team SRA International, Inc.

This was my first year at the race. As a runner, I was so impressed with the staff and volunteers and all of the folks who came out to support the runners and walkers. Watching the participants and eating all of the incredible food that was donated by our generous sponsors made for a great morning. I can’t wait until next year’s race: Mark your calendars for April 30, 2016!

Thank you to our 2015 sponsors! Without your contributions, the race wouldn’t be possible. Our 2015 Sponsors.

Fairfax CASA was recently notified that we have been selected for the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s Class of 2016. We are grateful to have been vetted and selected for this prestigious honor.

As you and your families embark on your well-deserved summer vacations, please stay safe and enjoy your time together.

Happy Summer!

In other news:

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Click to read the remaining June 2015 Newsletter articles.

Goodbye Diana, we’ll miss you!

Diana Fairfax CASA faces a very bittersweet time: We are saying goodbye to Diana Grosik, who has been a CASA Supervisor for almost four years. Diana has been offered an incredible opportunity in her home state of Pennsylvania, as the Executive Director of the brand new Cambria County, PA Child Advocacy Center.

While we will miss her, terribly, we know that she is going to do great things in her new capacity and bring to Pennsylvania and the Child Advocacy Center a great deal of passion, talent and dedication to the children she will serve.

We will be hosting a drop-in wine and cheese farewell on June 22nd. Please join us in saying goodbye. RSVP to Jennifer jbellhouse@casafairfax.org.

Know someone who would make a good supervisor? We are hiring a full-time Supervisor and part-time Supervisor.
CASA Supervisor Position (Part Time)
CASA Supervisor Position (Full Time)

Click to read the remaining June 2015 Newsletter articles.

Welcome Erica!

Erica- SpotlightOur new ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program Intern, Erica Cooper, is excited to be on board with Fairfax CASA. Throughout the summer Erica will be creating promotional and marketing videos for Fairfax CASA to share on our website and social media accounts. She is a rising sophomore at Clemson University and is seeking a major in Marketing with a minor in Film Production.

Though she spends her school year in South Carolina, Erica grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland where she found her love for the outdoors, art, and her family and friends. Her passion for videography and helping others is what led her to the intern position, and she hopes to create a positive impact with the videos she produces during the time she is with Fairfax CASA.

Click to read the remaining June 2015 Newsletter articles.

Spring has Sprung!

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Although we may have started off with a little snow on the first day of spring, I am keeping my fingers crossed that warmer weather, sunshine and some green grass are here to stay.

With spring comes Fairfax CASA’s annual Run for the Children 8k run and 3k run/walk. In its 5th year, this race is our largest fundraiser event and it brings over 800 runners and 200 volunteers, plus spectators, to the County Courthouse, where it starts and finishes.

This will be my first year at the race, and I am very excited to be a part of it. Each week, more and more merchandise, goods and services come in for the silent auction. I have heard from past registrants who say this is a “must-do” race. I have watched the staff dig in and work hard to make this year’s race our best ever. The money we raise through the Run for the Children allows Fairfax CASA to continue to provide a CASA volunteer to EVERY child with an open abuse/neglect case in the Court.

We are thrilled to have many of our prior sponsors return to help us this year,  several new sponsors, including: Axiom, Cafritz Interests & NOVUS Residences LLC, Manila, Sensei Enterprises, Inc., RDM, KPMG, SRA International, Inc., KW Cecilia Hayes, Lisa Banks, Pillsbury, CJM Wealth Advisers, Hard Times Cafe, Coyote Grille, Twins Ace Hardware, Rita’s Italian Ice, Road ID and Metronome LLC.

There is still plenty of time to register to run or walk. And, if you are one of our first 350 registrants, you will be entered to win a Fitbit Flex wristband. We have created an option for individual runners and teams to fundraise this year…please contact Jennie Bellhouse if you need help with creating a fundraising page (jbellhouse@casafairfax.org). And, if you don’t run, you can volunteer at the race and be an integral part of helping Fairfax CASA make this event a success! To register to run/walk or volunteer, just go to our website, www.fairfaxrunforthechildren.com.

This spring also brings with it some staff changes at Fairfax CASA. Elisa Kosarin has left the CASA staff to pursue her own business, Twenty Hats, full time. As the Associate Director of Recruitment and Training, Elisa impacted Fairfax CASA’s volunteer program, helping to create systems and processes that not only improved recruitment, but also increased volunteer retention. We wish Elisa the best in her new venture.

With Elisa’s departure, Maryann Wohlford and Mindy Stewart will be dividing the responsibilities of her position. Maryann is now our Director of Adult Education/Supervisor and Mindy is now our Director of Volunteer Recruitment and Marketing/Supervisor. I am confident in their abilities and know that they will do a fantastic job in their new roles.

Wishing you all a warm and sunny spring! I hope to see you at the race on May 2nd.

In other news:

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Click to read the remaining March 2015 Newsletter articles.

Summer Internship Opportunity at Fairfax CASA

ExxonMobil-CSJP-logoDo you know of a college student that is enrolled full time that has a passion for video production with an interest in gaining experience in the nonprofit industry? We have a summer internship opportunity at the Fairfax CASA office through the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program.

Position Description:
The summer intern will assist in the production and development of media collateral, including video clips, sound bites, and photographs. These materials will be used as part of Fairfax CASA’s targeted marketing efforts to qualified Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Commitment/Stipend: Temporary employment for an agreed upon eight-week period during the summer of 2015. The intern will receive a $2,750 stipend sponsored by ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program.

Opportunity to:
• Improve your technical skills in developing mixed media.
• Apply media to a targeted marketing campaign.
• Build your resume for future employment.

Principle responsibilities:
• Assist in the production of video clips, sound bites, photographs, and other media used for marketing purposes.
• Extract valuable messaging and material from an archive of existing media.
• Helping disseminate the media through existing social media sites.
• Research online marketing trends and new methods for building Fairfax CASA’s online footprint.
• Help develop and track outcomes to measure media effectiveness.

Qualifications:
• Previous experience in media production (course work is acceptable).
• Strong organizational, writing, computer and interpersonal skills.
• Ability to work independently
• Familiarity with social media.
• Commitment to follow through on agreed upon work.

How to Apply:
Email resume, cover letter, and sample video by April 1, 2015 to Mindy Stewart mstewart@casafairfax.org & Jennifer Bellhouse jbellhouse@casafairfax.org .
The cover letter must explain why the applicant’s skills and experience will be of value to Fairfax CASA. Cover letters that stress the value of the internship to the applicant will not be considered.

Click to read the remaining March 2015 Newsletter articles.

We’ll Miss You Elisa!

elisaAfter seven and ½ years, Fairfax CASA’s Associate Director for Recruitment and Training has moved on. Starting mid-March, Elisa will be heading her own business, Twenty Hats, providing training courses to nonprofit volunteer managers.

Elisa, who began as a CASA volunteer and served on three cases, joined the staff in 2007 as Recruitment and Training Manager. During her tenure, she oversaw revisions to the recruitment and screening process that have resulted in greater retention of volunteers and fewer drop-offs from cases. She also built up the continuing education program, which is rated as one of the most popular features of the program in volunteer satisfaction surveys.

“CASA is like a family,” says Elisa. “I will really miss the volunteers and the staff – but I won’t be too far away.” Expect to see Elisa at CASA events in the months to come.

Click to read the remaining March 2015 Newsletter articles.

“The New Year brings with it a chance to hit the reset button: To reflect on what worked for us and what, perhaps, didn’t work so well.”

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Happy New Year! I hope that your holiday season was full of happy moments and created many wonderful memories for you and yours. The New Year brings with it a chance to hit the “reset” button: To reflect on what worked for us and what, perhaps, didn’t work so well. Many of us will take the opportunity to start out fresh and set new goals for the upcoming year.

If you watch the news or read anything on the internet, then you know that the number one New Year’s resolution is to get fit—to exercise and take better care of ourselves. I follow the trend: My goal for 2015 is to run at least 3 half marathons this year. However, according to some studies, less than 10% of us will keep our resolutions. Not a very encouraging statistic! However, we have the May 2 Fairfax CASA Run for the Children 8k Race & 3k Run/Walk to keep us motivated!

Was exercise one of your resolutions? Well, we can help! In an effort to help you help yourself, I would like to issue a personal challenge to you to stick with your resolution by registering and training for the race.

You can sign up now at www.fairfaxrunforthechildren.com. If you are new to running, you have plenty of time to get ready for an 8k: 15 weeks to be exact. You can do this! Every dollar raised helps us provide CASA Volunteers to abused and neglected children, who need someone by their side, being their voice.

Did you commit to giving back? We can help with that goal, as well. We need volunteers for race day—many, many volunteers. You can sign up here to volunteer here.

Not available on May 2nd? You can still be a part of our largest fundraiser! You or your business can sponsor this popular community event. Information can be found here. 2015 promises to be exciting for Fairfax CASA and we look forward to another meaningful and successful year. We hope to see you on race day!

In other news:

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Click to read the remaining January 2015 Newsletter articles.

New CASA Volunteers Sworn Into Service

2010-01-01 01.18.56Fairfax CASA kicks off with eight new volunteers receiving cases and beginning their work as Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The new volunteers were sworn into service on November 20, 2014 by Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court Chief Judge Janine Saxe, with additional remarks from Fairfax CASA Board President Al Schumann and Fairfax Bar Association President David Marks.

Leading the occasion for the very first time was Executive Director Darcy Cunningham, who joined the organization in September. Darcy had participated alongside the new volunteers in their training and helped evaluate the use of a new blended training curriculum, which covers abuse and neglect issues through online learning and then applies the knowledge to CASA work in a classroom setting.

In her comments for the swearing in ceremony, Darcy noted that “there is no way that we can put a dollar value on the service of a CASA volunteer; it is immeasurable and invaluable. To our new volunteers, thank you in advance for the commitment that you are making tonight.”

Congratulations to our new CASA volunteers:

Marjorie Alloy
Marjon Barrigan
Connie Dineen
Jane Kolb
Richard Kraus
Stephanie Mansfield
Michele Nofal
Sherry Simon

Click to read the remaining January 2015 Newsletter articles.

CASA Volunteer Matt Raymond

Matt RaymondSometimes a case comes along that defies all assumptions. That’s what happened to Matt Raymond, when he took on a new CASA case in 2012.

An infant boy who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome had endured broken bones and fractures. The mother was an alcoholic facing criminal charges, and the professionals working the case were pessimistic about the outcome. They did not expect the mother to recover. If the baby lived, he was likely to be placed for adoption.

The situation was so troubling that Matt’s supervisor hesitated to propose the case to him. Several volunteers had already turned it down due to the gruesome nature of the abuse. Matt, however, had a different reaction. He felt he could not look away from a child who needed so much help. “I definitely knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Matt advocated as part of a team with the social worker, Guardian ad litem, and a detective. He built a strong rapport with the professionals that allowed him to gather the information needed for his court reports. The team also provided the mother with the support she needed to recover from her addiction. “She did all she was court ordered to do and more,” Matt reflected on the mother’s progress. “I was blown away by how she turned this thing around.” The case closed with the infant returned to his mother’s care. Matt still receives notes from the mother with photos and updates on the child.

The CASA experience has been so rewarding for Matt that he got his workplace, SRA, involved in the Run for the Children. Over the past two years, the SRA team has raised over $24,000 for Fairfax CASA. Matt even inspired his family to travel from Pennsylvania to walk in the race and raise funds. “Working with CASA has changed the way I look at my own life,” says Matt about his desire to support the program. “I realize how lucky I have been.”

Click to read the remaining January 2015 Newsletter articles.

May 2015

Children with a CASA volunteer: 199
Volunteers assigned to cases: 109
New Children Referred by the court: 10
New Cases Opened: 13
Cases Closed: 5
Number of Children Waiting: 25

April 2015

Children with a CASA volunteer: 194
Volunteers assigned to cases: 109
New Children Referred by the court: 25
New Cases Opened: 9
Cases Closed: 4
Number of Children Waiting: 26

March 2015

Children with a CASA volunteer: 203
Volunteers assigned to cases: 116
New Children Referred by the court: 13
New Cases Opened: 7
Cases Closed: 16
Number of Children Waiting: 12

February 2015

Children with a CASA volunteer: 207
Volunteers assigned to cases: 112
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 6
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

January 2015

Children with a CASA volunteer: 208
Volunteers assigned to cases: 114
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 4
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

December 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 218
Volunteers assigned to cases: 119
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 0
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

November 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 224
Volunteers assigned to cases: 120
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 13
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

October 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 229
Volunteers assigned to cases: 125
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 11
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

September 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 217
Volunteers assigned to cases: 124
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 7
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

August 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 219
Volunteers assigned to cases: 124
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 2
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

Annual FY14

# of children served by a CASA volunteer:  368
# of additional children whose cases were monitored by staff or volunteers:  10
Volunteers active on cases:  174
Case hours devoted by CASA volunteers:  16,791
Volunteer contacts with children:  4,325
Miles driven by volunteers in the course of their CASA work:  137,464

July 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 221
Volunteers assigned to cases: 126
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 2
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

June 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 222
Volunteers assigned to cases: 131
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 17
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

May 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 221
Volunteers assigned to cases: 130
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 13
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

April 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 264
Volunteers assigned to cases: 136
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 6
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

March 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 268
Volunteers assigned to cases: 139
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 21
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

February 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 263
Volunteers assigned to cases: 137
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 25
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

January 2014

Children with a CASA volunteer: 266
Volunteers assigned to cases: 134
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 9
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

Annual FY13 Statistics

# of children served by a CASA volunteer:  416
# of additional children whose cases were monitored by staff or volunteers:  18
Volunteers active on cases:  175
Case hours devoted by CASA volunteers:  23,299
Volunteer contacts with children:  5,016
Miles driven by volunteers in the course of their CASA work:  170,221

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