• CASA: This crisis has been really tough on our kids.

    Friends of CASA,

    In what seemed like an instant, our work schedules, our social lives, so many of the patterns and rituals that make up our daily lives, were altered. We’ve been thrown into a crisis, and we feel scared—for ourselves and for our loved ones. Everything has changed.

    But we know we’re in this together, with our neighbors and friends, and that brings some comfort. It’s a crisis, but we will get through it together

    The children we serve, all victims of abuse and neglect, experience a similar sense of fear with the chaos of sudden change. Sadly, the stress is often woven into the fabric of their young lives, creating patterns that may define their future, their story. Imagine, if you can, how you would feel if, in the middle of this pandemic, you were told that you can’t live with the person you love? And that your new home is with strangers in a different city. 

    This is the crisis our children deal with every day, often for years, before a sense of calm is finally restored. This is their reality, and this fear has affected more than 650 children in Santa Barbara County in the past 12 months. 

    But thanks to you, most of these children don’t have to face that crisis alone. Your investment in CASA resulted in 531 children having a CASA volunteer to advocate for them last year. We hope we can count on you to continue your support of CASA this year, just as we count on CASA volunteers to continue their advocacy. Even the COVID–19 pandemic cannot stop our volunteers from making sure their case children are cared for in a safe environment, and have what they need to thrive.  

    CASA volunteers are still connecting with children by calling, texting, FaceTiming, Zooming, and delivering care packages, giving them hope and letting them know they matter and are not forgotten.

    I am so grateful for their unwavering commitment, and here’s why:

    A four-year-old boy re-entered foster care at the beginning of our shelter-at-home order. His CASA knew what size clothes he needed, what his favorite color was, and which toy, a certain truck, would bring a smile to his face, replacing the fear for at least a little while.

    Another CASA volunteer received an urgent message from a child, a message none of us would ever want to get. The quick action of the volunteer brought authorities to immediately remove the young teen from an unsafe home. 

    The family who gathered at the living room window, waving excitedly at the volunteer who set up a “socially distant” drop off of a much-anticipated birthday gift, is the perfect example of an outcome we wish for every child–the joy of a safe and loving home, a family reunited.

    Stories of making lava lamps or Play-Doh “ice cream” via Zoom, virtual treasure hunts—all the ways our volunteers have continued to stay in touch while also doing the quiet work of advocacy—have inspired me, even on difficult days.

    The coronavirus pandemic has brought challenges to CASA. We’ve had to postpone our spring fundraiser (we were supposed to race ducks in April—not good timing!), and future events that fund nearly 25% of our operations are in question. We’ve had to quickly change to a remote work force to comply with state and CDC guidelines.

    We knew we could make it work, and we have. We are still here every day to support our volunteers who are on the front lines of social work, making sure our kids are safe. 

    During a time when so much is unknown, I realize you must have plenty on your mind. It’s not easy to ask you to also think of the hundreds of children we serve every year. But I am asking, for them, for every child we are serving today, and for the 152 children on our waiting list. Each of them has a story, and we want them to be safe through their crises.  

    CASA will be there for them because of, and thanks to, you. Your gift today will help many more children.

    With gratitude, 
    Kim Colby Davis, Executive Director

    P.S. With our focus and your help, we’re here to change a child’s story. Thank you for being with us on this journey.