CASAblanca was a fabulous night completely focused on the mission of CASA of Travis County – to promote and protect the best interests of children who have been abused and neglected. Everything from the décor to the program highlighted the volunteers, staff and judges who are working to help every kid who needs a CASA here in Travis county. Though there was no theme to the gala, according to Rhonda Chandler, gala chair, attendees were enticed to help further CASA’s mission with one night to make a difference for children. The gala certainly made that stride in that it raised 130,000 dollars just in the fund-a-need. Other funds came
from the wine pull, casino night and live and silent auctions. For the first time, the team at FUN Auctions, headed up by Gayle Stallings, also did a hybrid live and silent auction they called the big board. This allowed some items in between live and silent status to be sold in a mini live auction after the program and was a great success.
Judge John Hathaway was honored on this night and called upon his fellow judges and others he works alongside to recognize the amazing accomplishments made this year. Laura Wolf, Executive
Director, stated that he was selected as this year’s honoree because he truly cares about the children he helps. In 2013, more than 2000 children were removed from their homes and needed a CASA volunteer and 1300 were able to receive that essential part of the process. That means 700 youth were left without an advocate in the courtroom. Hathaway said he breathes a sigh of relief when he sees a CASA walk into his courtroom and always looks to the volunteer, who is sometimes the only person able to focus solely on the child they are representing. This past year was filled with great success, but it was a hard one too and Judge Hathaway did not gloss over the hurdles left to CASA and everyone involved to help all the abused and neglected children in Travis county.
All the work and accomplishments are only made possible by the staff and volunteers at CASA. Rated one of
the top CASAs in the country for number served and the incredible nearly 600 volunteers, CASA of Travis County is making essential strides toward serving every child in the community who needs them. The staff also aid in this mission and work tirelessly to make the county a better place for everyone. Laura Wolf commented that “none of this would be possible without the volunteers. They’re the ones who make it happen.” The night was a chance to make a difference for children, but also celebrate the commitment of the organization, staff, judges and volunteers.