Stories of the heart

The Mission

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

Too often, foster children in Las Vegas are sent out of state in order to receive mental health treatment. These children may remain for up to two years and many feel abandoned by those they care about in Nevada. If they are lucky, they have a CASA volunteer like Casey who is willing to travel to visit them and help them feel connected and cared about. The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas supports this vital link with home by covering the costs for CASA volunteers to visit their children. This letter was sent by a foster child right after the Foundation paid for her CASA’s visit. 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

As youth age out of the foster care system, preparing for independent living can be a challenge. Several hurdles remain, one of which is learning to drive and getting a driver’s license which can be impossible to attain growing up in foster care. The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas is committed to assisting with this significant step toward adulthood by providing free driving lessons through a local company. In the last year alone, we welcomed 13 new licensed drivers through this important program. Drive safely guys!

Sergio

Being in the 5th grade is hard, especially if you have a medical condition that keeps you from regularly attending school. As Sergio’s parents struggled with their mental health, Sergio became a ward of the Court, where a distant cousin came to his rescue with a home, love, and support.

Sergio was found to be 4 years behind in his reading and math skills. While reluctant to begin working with the staff and program at The Tutoring Club, Sergio had become one of their top success stories! He is currently thriving and working at grade level in all areas of his school work. Sergio is on track to move through his school years knowing he is capable of excelling!

Yovanna

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

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.

Avlia

Diabetes is in Avila’s family history, and when Avlia was 8 and Avlia was diagnosed with diabetes.

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.

Harper

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

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.

Pierre

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

Dayton was a child in foster care, and was in an automobile accident shortly before his high school graduation. Once his CASA and Social worker were notified, they began contacting the family to arrange his service. The Department of Family Services is only able to provide for a burial, and his CASA wanted to ensure that his family & loved ones were not alone in their time of need. Dayton was not alone, he had a younger sister, Shayla. His sister, friends, current and past service provides, and teachers needed a way to say good-bye in a proper setting. Dayton’s CASA contacted the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas to arrange the funds for his service. Arrangements were made at the Palm Mortuary, and the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas was honored to be able to support his loved ones and help preserve Dayton’s memory in their time of need.

Corrina

Corrina had spent many years in and out of foster care and had aged out of the foster care system at the age of 18. With her CASA volunteer by her side, she had moved into an Independent Living arrangement with oversight from a Department of Family Services worker. Adjusting to her new life as an adult, Corrina had fallen in love and had a beautiful baby daughter. Shortly after her 20th birthday, she had a fatal allergic reaction to a bee sting. An advocate had contacted the CASA Foundation of Las Vegas for financial help with a memorial service, and the foundation was honored to provide food for the service. The CASA Foundation of Las Vegas continues to support their family in time of need.

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.

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CASA Foundation was established 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.

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