The mission of the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas is to promote and support the Clark County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Program and to address the unmet needs of abused and neglected children in foster care in Clark County, NV.
See You Later, Alligator
Tutoring Makes The Grade
Foster children struggle academically due to educational neglect and frequent moves. They may attend 4 or more different high schools in four years. It is estimated that every time a child changes schools, they lose approximately 6 months of instruction. To assist with that challenge, the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas covers the cost of weekly tutoring. Through generous donations, we are able to maintain a tutoring budget of $10,000 per month and have seen some amazing success stories. Many children just like Parker, with months of tutoring, are able to catch up to their peers and succeed in school.
To A Driver’s License And Beyond
Being in the 5th grade is hard, especially if you have a medical condition that keeps you from regularly attending school. Next add the burden of parents struggling with acute mental illness and school becomes an overwhelming obstacle. This was the fate of Sergio. As his parents spiraled down into the depths of mental illness he became a ward of the Court. His one shining light was a distant cousin, Anna that came to his rescue with a home, love and support.
Anna realized immediately that Sergio was significantly behind in school and unable to read or do basic math. Sergio had never passed the schools standardized testing, yet was promoted to the next grade level each year. Frustrations mounted when Anna was unable to get help from Sergio’s school or the Clark County School District. Fearing Sergio was using his illness as an excuse not to go to school due to his inability to understand the material and feeling overwhelmed Anna requested help from the Social Worker.
The Social Worker contacted the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas. The CASA Foundation believes education is the key to success and has focused a significant amount of resources to help foster children attend intensive tutoring through a partnership with The Tutoring Club. Sergio was tested using the same testing format as Clark County Schools and was found to be 4 years behind in both reading and math skills.
Although Sergio was reluctant to begin working with the staff and program at The Tutoring Club he has become their #1 success story. Sergio is currently working at grade level in all areas of his schoolwork and has mastered all standardized testing required. He is on track to move through his school years knowing he is capable and able to do what is asked of him as well as excel.
Technology is becoming as common in high school as books. Teachers are requiring research that can only be found through the Internet. Assignments are being required to be e-mailed to teachers and school information is being distributed online. Yovanna was an excellent student entering her senior year of high school. At her last foster home, she was within walking distance to her local library and used the library computer system for her homework. The move to her new foster home meant taking the bus and doing a transfer to get to the closest library.
The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas has teamed with Best Buy to purchase, at a reduced rate, computers, printers, cables, loaded with software and anti-virus software to high school students. Yovanna cried when she was presented with her own computer that will go with her wherever she lives.
Clayton was carrying the heavy burden of built-up anger from being in foster care again. His foster father recognized all the signs of anger management problems and remembered those feelings when he was a teen. Football was a release for the foster father and he talked to Clayton about finding a team. Although Clayton had never considered sports he was willing to give it a try.
Foster families receive monthly payments for the living expenses of children in foster care but the $180.00 football registration fees were beyond the budget. The foster father completed the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas online application, provided the documentation supporting the amount he was requesting, and within days picked up a check to enroll Clayton in Pop Warner football.
Diabetes is in Avila’s family history. Her mother died of diabetes when Avlia was 8 and Avlia was diagnosed with diabetes shortly after her death. Her father turned to alcohol during the grieving process and soon Avlia was in foster care after being found wondering her neighborhood at 1:00 AM and the follow up to her diabetes needs had been neglected.
The Nevada Diabetes Association holds a summer camp that is staffed with medical professionals to help children learn to understand and control their health and diabetes. The camp is held in Northern California so traveling expenses had to be added to the expensive price of the camp. The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas has funded the last 2 years of Avlia’s summer diabetes camp as well as diabetes training for Avlia’s CASA Social Worker.
Graduating from high school and looking to the future should be an exciting time, but for Harper it only caused anxiety. Statistics show that only 61% of children in foster care receive a high school diploma and few continue on to college. Harper was graduating with honors and had been offered a number of scholarships, she hoped to make the best decision about which college would best fit her dreams by visiting the campus.
In 2010 The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas provided funding for 10 students to participate in campus tours. Some students went with their foster parents and some traveled with group tours. Harper chose to go with a group tour. After her college selection, Harper applied for the CASA Foundation Higher Education grant of $1,500.00 and will be attending the college of her choice.
Cindy had been a cheerleader for 2 years. When abuse in her home was confirmed Cindy became a ward of the court and staying enrolled in her current high school and continuing with cheerleading became a big question. A relative in the school district stepped forward to be a foster care resource but did not have the $800.00 needed to keep Cindy in cheerleading. A call to the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas secured the funding necessary for Cindy to be a cheerleader during her final 2 years in High School.
Six (6) years in foster care and 14 placements later, some with and some without his younger brother who looked to Pierre as his stand-in parent, convinced Pierre that education was his only hope. All the school changes and even a long period of not attending school did not keep Pierre from graduating with his senior class and with a 3.5 GPA. With a CASA at his side and a very active team working to create an Independent Living contract that focused on college, Pierre applied for the Adelson/CASA Foundation Scholarship of $5,000. Pierre became the scholarship recipient and subsequently enrolled at UNLV.
Dayton was not alone in foster care; he had a younger sister, Shayla, whom he was very close to. Dayton was also very well-liked at his school and through his numerous foster care placements. Shayla, his friends, current and past service providers, and schoolteachers needed to be able to say good-bye in a proper setting. Dayton’s CASA contacted The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas and arrangements were made and paid for by the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas with Palm Mortuary for a proper and dignified funeral for Dayton.
Corrina had spent many years in and out of foster care. At 18 she aged out of the foster care system and with her CASA by her side moved into an Independent Living arrangement with oversight from a Department of Family Services worker. Corrina struggled but maintained. She fell in love and had a beautiful baby daughter. Shortly after Corrina’s 20th birthday she was stung by a bee and had a fatal allergic reaction. Corrina’s long time CASA child was given the letterman jacket for Christmas and slept in it. and advocate contacted the CASA for financial help with a memorial service. The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas was honored to provide the food for the memorial service.
Orin & Brenda
Orin and his sister Brenda came to Las Vegas from New Jersey when they were very young. Growing up in a fast-paced city with parents struggling with drug addiction resulted in a number of stays at Child Haven and into the foster care system. Each time they entered foster care their extended families back in New Jersey were contacted about providing a home for these children. The drug addiction their parents were trying to get away from by moving to Las Vegas was due in part to their parents being involved with drugs, gangs, and living in an environment of poverty. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins loved these children and wanted to help, but were without the resources or ability. Orin and Brenda knew they had a family back East and frequently asked to call them or visit them.
As Orin and Brenda moved through the foster care system they called their “Back East” family and wished for the time they would be able to hug their Grandparents, be a part of the family holiday celebrations, and catch-up with their numerous cousins. Through funding from the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas, Orin and Brenda are provided with airfare to return to their Grandparents’ home each Christmas to reconnect with their extended family. The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas understands the positive outcomes of helping children stay in contact with their extended families.
The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas exists to support the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Program and to identify and fund the individual needs of abused and neglected children in foster care in Clark County.