Jami Harrison Slaton

Alpha Sigma, Washington State

Supporting National CASA in an Unexpected Way

 Dinah McClymonds and Pat Mierse
Former Foundation Trustee Dinah McClymonds, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma (left) with CASA Power Pansy donor Pat Mierse, Beta Nu/Florida State (right).

Patricia Doomar Mierse, Beta Nu/Florida State, was initiated in 1961 when Kappa Alpha Theta’s philanthropic partnership with Heartspring supported the commitment to providing children with opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. It wasn’t until 1990 when Theta began supporting National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA) and members’ fundraising, volunteerism, and advocacy was focused on providing a voice for abused and neglected children in family courts.

As an alumna, Pat became directly involved with CASA when she was asked to represent Theta on a statewide non-profit board founded to help with training for Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) programs throughout Florida. Learning more about the services of the paid employees as well as volunteers and pro-bono individuals and groups helped Pat appreciate the need for funding on all levels: local, state and national. Pat recalls one her most rewarding activities was reviewing nominations for Outstanding Volunteers and Outstanding Pro-Bono advocates. These were the individuals in Florida having a profound impact on the lives of children. Their stories were nothing short of inspiring.

In celebration of Theta’s partnership with National CASA and this year’s CASA Pansies, Pat plans to donate just over $25,000 to the National CASA Initiative. Her first donation is occurring today, CASA Pansy Day! We aim to raise $15,000 in just 15 hours in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the incredible work National CASA is doing to help abused and neglected children be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive. When we reach that goal, Pat will add $15,000 to our total.

While Pat has been a loyal Theta Foundation donor for 25 years, she never dreamed she would be in a position to make this kind of impact financially. When an unexpected opportunity arose to make a substantial contribution toward Theta's $1 million commitment, Pat knew that she wanted her gift to be used as a "…wider influence for good. Being able to become a lead donor for this CASA initiative is both exciting and humbling."

Pat’s service on the Guardian Ad Litem board in her community probably would not have occurred without her involvement in Kappa Alpha Theta. She has always encouraged those in her life to give to Theta and other organizations, no matter the size of the contributions. "To me, the important thing is to give back to those who have given much—either to others, or for us."

Please join Pat with a donation and help support National CASA! Visit www.PansyPatch.org on April 12 to send pansies to Thetas close to you in support of National CASA. For donations in support of National CASA after April 12, you can give to Theta Foundation via www.GivetoTheta.org.

At Grand Convention 2016, Kappa Alpha Theta presented a check of $200,000 to National CASA as the first installment on a three-year commitment to raise $1 million. Theta’s chapters have responded to this overwhelmingly, raising nearly $500,000 from their fundraising events in less than two years. The funds raised will help National CASA become an evidence-based program and create new best practices materials for CASA and Guardian Ad Litem staff and volunteers all over the United States.