On Friday, April 13, CASA of New Hampshire held it’s most successful fundraiser to date, raising more than $300,000 at CASA Cares: An Evening of Giving for New Hampshire’s Children, presented by CruCon Cruise Outlet.
With nearly 400 guests gathered at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham, CASA Board Chairman David Eby spoke to the increase in need for CASA volunteers over the past two years, largely due to the drug epidemic affecting families all around the state. While CASA volunteers advocates were able to serve 1,403 children in 2017, there were still 281 children who did not have an advocate to speak for their best interests.
Reaching those children who do not have an advocate is the main mission of CASA Cares, he said, by providing the resources needed to recruit, train and supervise CASA volunteer advocates who ensure our children have a voice in court. He encouraged the audience to think of one person in their life who may have the time to become an advocate, and if they could not, he prompted them to support one that night.
The evening included a sell-out wine grab, comedian Jimmy Dunn who who had the crowd roaring until they walked out the door, and an exciting live auction with trips to Bali, Italy, and New York City, a custom CASA pendant adorned with diamonds and rubies, a rare case of wine and more. Back by popular demand were a Manchester police ride along, donated by Chief Nick Willard and a dinner for 12 prepared by Manchester firefighters presented by district chief Al Poulin. The pair teamed up with a surprise offering kicked off by Poulin who offered an ice cream socials for 12, and was rounded out by Chief Willard who offered to bring Valor and General, MPD’s mounted patrol horses, to the firehouse for the parties! Two lucky winners took home this unique opportunity.
Special guest speakers included Sandy Cleary, president of presenting sponsor CruCon Cruise Outlet, and Molly, an 8-year-old former CASA child who was adopted at the end of February. With passion and conviction, Sandy stressed the importance of supporting CASA’s mission of providing an advocate for every child. Despite being inspired by CASA’s work, Sandy said she knew she could not become a volunteer due to her demanding work schedule, but she knew she could help in other ways, supporting volunteers through her donations and encouraging others to do the same.
Attendees met Molly first in a beautiful video that captured her adoption day, then heard from her on stage as she shared a story she wrote about her interpretation of a loving family. With her bubbly personality and some great dance moves, Molly inspired the room by sharing her story of overcoming her nerves when she first moved into her new home and the special things her parents did to make her feel comfortable. Molly’s father, Tim, spoke to the importance of having a CASA advocate, Lyn Lombard, who spent more than two years advocating for Molly. Lyn described the happiness it brings her to watch Molly flourish with her new forever family.
The resolutions of child abuse and neglect cases do not come easily. With the steadfastness of CASA volunteers throughout the state, outcomes like Molly’s are more frequent and accessible for these victimized children. The incredible generosity from all who donated at CASA Cares this year will directly support the recruitment, training and supervision of new CASA volunteers throughout the state to help us reach every vulnerable child in need. Thank you for helping make this evening such a success!