“[The children] have not done anything wrong,” CASA Executive Director Ann Marie Binsner told the AFRO. “Hopefully the families can pull themselves together. Our young people have experienced trauma in their lives, sometimes multiple trauma. It is something that most people never experience in a lifetime. Mental health issues are a big concern.”
May 2016 marked Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Prince George’s County’s 15th anniversary. Since 2001, CASA has gone from one Executive Director serving a handful of children to a staff of 9 serving over 150 abused and neglected children each year. In 15 years, CASA’s Board of Directors and staff have overcome challenges; including multiple changes in administration and child welfare policy and a recession; have formulated and executed multiple strategic plans; and have developed relationships with community resource providers and key stakeholders that have been essential to our success.
More importantly though, CASA has had the great pleasure of working with hundreds of amazing, dedicated volunteers. Those volunteers have provided tireless advocacy and unmatched support of the children they have served. They have witnessed successful family reunions, attended adoption hearings, celebrated a youth’s first job, attended high school and college graduations and watched as the youth they worked with became thriving adults.
Throughout the year, CASA will celebrate all that we have accomplished together in 15 years.
“I am for the Child” Campaign a Success!
From May 12th to 26th CASA conducted its annual “I am for the Child” campaign in honor of both National Foster Care Month and our 15 year anniversary. CASA Board Members, Staff and Volunteers worked hard to fundraise; reaching out to their networks to raise funds on CASA’s behalf. Through this collaborative effort, we met our $5,000 goal raising funds from long-time supporters, new donors, one-time gifts, recurring donations and even corporate matches. Thank you to all of our donors as well as our fundraisers: Ann Marie Binsner, Kara Bundy, LaVerne Byrd, Sheila Edmondson, Dannine Johnson, Eliane Lakam, Roe Taylor and Singh Taneja. A special thanks goes out to our top fundraisers: LaVerne Byrd and Roe Taylor! All donations will help us expand to serve more abused and neglected children.
“Celebrating 15 Years of Advocacy”
Current and past volunteers, Board Members and staff came together on May 26th to celebrate all that we have achieved together. It was a lovely evening of socializing, reminiscing and catching up with old friends. Attendees enjoyed a delicious buffet put on by Butlers on Call, a catering company owned by CASA Volunteer Denise Montgomery. The Honorable Judge Larnzell Martin and Thomas Hendershot, former Board Chair, each received plaques to thank them for their efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children in Prince George’s County. Ann Marie Binsner, who has served as CASA’s Executive Director since 2001, received a special award from the Board of Directors.
For a link to the photo gallery, email Kara Bundy at email@example.com.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Prince George’s County in partnership with Prince George’s County Council Vice Chair Dannielle Glaros, Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, Sustainable Initiatives Division and NAI Michael, hosted CASA in the Community: a Stream Clean-Up, on June 10, 2016. The stream clean up was part of the Prince George’s County “Clean Sweep,” and enabled CASA staff and volunteers as well as community citizens to work together to clean the steam adjacent to the CASA office in the Jemal’s Calvert Building, which is part of the Anacostia Watershed. Volunteers received free lunch, sponsored by NAI Michael. Turbo Haul staff volunteered their time and resources to help haul away the debris which included a bike frame, a stroller, shelving, metal sheeting, bags and bags of plastic and a tire.
“The support from Ms. Glaros, NAI Michael, Douglas Development and the County’s environment department is critical to increasing awareness, and can make a difference in the community so that we can all live in a clean, safe and nurturing environment,” Binsner observed.
Check out the clip on Prince George’s Community Television.
Sheila Edmondson, president of the Board of Directors for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Prince George’s County, earned recognition March 13 as part of a special service to honor community leaders and elected officials in Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland.
“We appreciate the great work you are doing in the community, because we know it is not easy,” Rev. Kevin W. Johnson, senior pastor of the Accokeek First Church of God, told Edmondson and 15 other women selected by the church to be recognized as part of National Women’s History Month. Johnson and Rev. Andrew Johnson, associate pastor, recognized the women with special certificates during the church’s morning worship service.
Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” Efforts from each president have been a result of laws passed by Congress mandating that the president issue the proclamations.
Reading from a proclamation from President Barack Obama, Johnson told the crowd, “Women have spurred change in communities around the world.”
While serving on the CASA Board of Directors for the past eight years, Edmondson has advocated to make a difference in the lives of children who are abused and neglected.
“I have recognized the strong need for young girls and women in Prince George’s County to have positive role models. CASA serves about 25 percent of the over 500 youth in the Prince George’s County foster care system and approximately half of those served are girls and young women. We know firsthand that girls and young women in the foster care system are particularly vulnerable,” said Edmondson.
Edmondson, however, along with CASA volunteers and staff plan to continue making a difference in the lives of youth living in foster care with the aim of returning them to safe, nurturing and permanent homes.
“With hard work and determination, there is nothing out of reach,” Rev. Kevin W. Johnson observed.
Photo credit: Kristin Collins
From left to right: Rev. Kevin W. Johnson, senior pastor; Sheila Edmondson, CASA Board of Directors President; and Rev. Andrew Johnson, associate pastor.
Executive Director Ann Marie Binsner and Lead Case Supervisor Sarah Bosken, along with staff, volunteers and youth from other local CASA programs and the National CASA Association addressed the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth. Panelists had the opportunity to teach the Caucus about the role of a CASA, how CASA volunteers are recruited, the impacts CASAs have on the lives of foster youth and how they interact with the court system. The Caucus also had the opportunity to hear directly from young adults who had benefited from having a CASA volunteer while in foster care.
Click here to read the full press release and biographies of the panelists.
Three women sorted through a flurry of colors, sparkles, lace and florals in the basement of this university’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house, trying to find the perfect prom dresses to donate to Prince George’s County teen girls in foster care.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Court Appointed Special Advocate encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Prince George’s County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.
The Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Incorporated, Iota Gamma Omega, Upsilon Tau Omega, Psi Epsilon Omega, Theta Nu and Eta chapters joined hands to host its third free Community Service Fair for county residents at the Beltway Church of Christ in Camp Springs on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 19.
Riverdale, MD, January 1, 2015- New Year’s resolutions typically focus on self-improvement: “lose weight”, “stop smoking”, “exercise more often”. This year, resolve to do something to make a difference in the world beyond your own: improve the life of an abused or neglected child in foster care.
When state officials removed several disabled foster children from an Anne Arundel County group home in early July — after a 10-year-old boy died there — they placed most of the children with Second Family, a Prince George’s County nonprofit that is Maryland’s largest contractor for such care.