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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, October 20, 2014 09:00 AM, by Melissa Shaub
Guest blogger and CASA CEO Michael Piraino shares his thoughts about Theta's 25-year partnership with CASA.

When people ask me what CASA is all about, I tell them it's a movement. A volunteer movement of advocacy for abused and neglected children. Throughout the past 25 years, our partnership with Kappa Alpha Theta has helped thousands and thousands of those children in so many ways.

Every day, tens of thousands of Court Appointed Special Advocates across the country stand up for kids who might otherwise navigate an overburdened foster care system feeling lost, scared and alone. Every dollar raised has helped train dedicated volunteers or spread awareness of the cause. Because of this partnership, many Thetas have decided to be trained to become volunteers and help children in their communities. And, caring Theta alumnae continue to support CASA long after they have graduated. It's a powerful partnership that has reached out across the country and continues to impact lives wherever Thetas are and beyond.

When I think of the power of this partnership, I can't help but think of the executive director of Tulsa CASA. Today, Maura Wilson works closely with Gamma Tau/Tulsa, and she can't say enough about all the help she gets from them every year. But, what shows the true long-lasting strength of this partnership is that Maura started as a Theta at the same university.

As she explained to me, "I remember sitting at a meeting when I first joined Theta and hearing all about CASA. I said to myself, 'When I'm old enough I'm going to become a CASA volunteer.'" And she did!

Together, National CASA and Theta have made a huge difference in helping abused and neglected children. But, despite the progress we have made, we know that more needs to be done, especially when we hear statistics like these:

  • A child enters foster care every 2 minutes.

  • A child ages out of foster care once every 22 minutes.

  • A child dies due to maltreatment every 5.3 hours.

Today, even though a CASA or Guardian Ad Litem volunteer is assigned to a child every 15 minutes, only one-third of children in need receive the life-saving support that CASA volunteers provide.

As I travel the country talking to people about National CASA, I tell them that they have the ability to change those statistics. All of us can lift up the life of a child by volunteering, making a donation, or sharing awareness of what CASA does with others.

Thank you, Thetas, for being such a mighty voice for CASA. You have been a powerful force in the lives of our nation's most vulnerable children for the past 25 years. I look forward to all we can accomplish together during this 25th anniversary celebration year and in the years to come.

In the upcoming months, you'll receive more information about the Theta/CASA partnership and how you can help with the good work that we're already doing to help foster children.

Michael Piraino is CEO of the National CASA Association. He has been a lifelong advocate for children at home and abroad, working to end child poverty, abuse and neglect, and to champion reforms in foster care.

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