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CASA of Los Angeles accepts $30,000 grant

CASA of Los Angeles’ Executive Director Dilys Garcia (second from left) receives a check for $30,000 from the LA Women’s Circle of Giving. Also pictured (from left), Cristine Reynaert, Mindy Freedman, Tatsinda Cohen, Jill Rosenberg, and Melanie Prager.
CASA of Los Angeles’ Executive Director Dilys Garcia (second from left) receives a check for $30,000 from the LA Women’s Circle of Giving. Also pictured (from left), Cristine Reynaert, Mindy Freedman, Tatsinda Cohen, Jill Rosenberg, and Melanie Prager.

The LA Women’s Circle of Giving (LAWCOG) presented a check for $30,000 to CASA of Los Angeles in May as part of its first annual giving cycle.

CASA’s mission, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is to mobilize community volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in the overburdened foster care system of Los Angeles county, and this grant will specifically support advocacy services for older foster youth, aged 12 to 20.

The LA Women’s Circle of Giving is a group of women who have pooled their charitable dollars to make a difference in the lives of women, children, and families in Los Angeles county.

During its first giving cycle, two grants were gifted, the first to CASA of Los Angeles, and the second to “No Limits,” an organization that works with deaf children. The grant was awarded to CASA at a dinner on May 14.

“We seek to select causes that reflect our passions and we focus on community needs that can benefit from our time, commitment, abilities and insights,” said LA Women’s Circle of Giving founder Mindy Freedman. “CASA’s work with transitional age youth is an area that is difficult to find funding for and the women of LAWCOG saw this as an opportunity to help a vulnerable group during the critical stage prior to transitioning out of the foster care system.”

Freedman said the due diligence process illuminated the importance of CASA, which is not a volunteer organization in the casual sense.

“The CASA is the most important person who is always holding the child’s best interest at heart,” she said. “It was clear that the CASA is a highly respected voice in the court system and that they successfully advocate for the children they represent. As we learned more about the agency, we became aware of the expertise and commitment of its staff and saw the uniquely important work that they do.”

CASA/LA Executive Director Dilys Garcia said the grant from the LA Women’s Circle of Giving was meaningful on so many levels.

“Not only does it help us financially, but also provides additional confirmation that the work we are doing is being noticed and making an impact on the lives of foster children in our community,” Garcia said. “We cannot express our thanks enough.”

In addition to advocating for their needs, volunteers working with older foster youth encourage them to develop vision and initiative and seek to provide them with the tools, motivation, support, and opportunities that they need to become independent, successful adults, leading fulfilled lives.

For more information, visit the CASA of Los Angeles website at www.casala.org.

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