Spring has Sprung!

darcy_team

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:

darcy-sig

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.”

darcy_team

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:

darcy-sig

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.

“Someone else is happy with less than what you have.”

darcy_team

This quote came across my desk last Friday afternoon and it resonated with me. I had spent the early part of Friday morning in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, as one of our dedicated CASA Volunteers awaited the Court’s decision about continuing jurisdiction with a young woman, “Beatrice”, who was turning 18. I met Beatrice for the first time that morning. She was smiling and full of life. Happy. Positive. Excited about her future.

This beautiful young woman has endured in her short life unspeakable horrors. She came to the United States from Africa in early 2003, fleeing abuse and the violence of her homeland. After continued abuse by family members here, she was placed in foster care in 2009, where she has remained, in many different placements. Beatrice had every reason to be broken, miserable and angry… and instead she was smiling, joyful and optimistic. She was thankful for the help she had received from the professionals in her case and especially grateful for the unwavering support she had from her CASA Volunteer.

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important and all that we already have in our lives to be grateful for. This year, I am especially thankful for my new position at Fairfax CASA, which allows me to be a part of an organization that positively impacts the lives of the children it serves. I am thankful for the staff, who come in each and every day with an enthusiasm and dedication that warms my soul. I am thankful for our volunteers, whose selfless giving of their time, energy and spirits leaves me in awe.

Most of all, I am thankful for the children we serve, who remind me each and every day that happiness—true joy—isn’t about the money in the bank or the stuff we have, but about the relationships we have in life.

Children like Beatrice count on the consistent, dependable relationship forged with their CASA Volunteer. It is often the one constant in their lives. Our volunteers commit to staying on a case for as long as it takes—sometimes for years—never giving up and never breaking that promise to be the voice of a child. This year, Fairfax CASA once again provided a volunteer to every child under Court protection. We could not have accomplished this without your ongoing support.

As you reflect on the important things in life, and all that you have to be thankful for, we hope that you will remember the children you have helped by being a part of Fairfax CASA—by being a volunteer, a friend to CASA or a financial contributor, and continue to make room in your heart for them. Thank you.

In other news:

darcy-sig

Click to read the remaining November 2014 Newsletter articles.

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

December 2013

Children with a CASA volunteer: 248
Volunteers assigned to cases: 131
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 23
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

November 2013

Children with a CASA volunteer: 247
Volunteers assigned to cases: 133
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 21
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

October 2013

Children with a CASA volunteer: 251
Volunteers assigned to cases: 138
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 21
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

September 2013

Children with a CASA volunteer: 246
Volunteers assigned to cases: 138
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 17
Children waiting for a volunteer: 0

August 2013

Children with a CASA volunteer: 249
Volunteers assigned to cases: 139
New children with CASA volunteers already matched: 2
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

Back to top