Here at CandysDirt, we write about all kinds of houses. Today, we want to tell you about a few very special houses that help abused and neglected kids, some of the most vulnerable members of our human family.
Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses, which features imaginative and creative playhouses on display in NorthPark Center, will be open daily during mall hours July 15 to 31. The playhouses are created and donated to Dallas CASA by local designers, architects, and builders. They are available to win by raffle at the end of the event. All proceeds from raffle benefit abused and neglected children served by Dallas CASA.
“The playhouses represent our hope for abused and neglected children in Dallas,” said Kathleen M. LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president. “Some children dream of having their very own fantasy playhouses, but abused children dream of having safe and lasting homes. We want all children to grow up in loving and permanent homes. Sadly, two out of five abused children in protective care in Dallas County do not have CASA volunteer advocates. We look forward to the day when we have enough volunteers for each child to have an advocate.”
Parade of Playhouses, Dallas CASA’s premier awareness event, not only raises funds, but also spreads the word about the role of volunteer advocates to more than 1 million visitors to the event.
Dallas CASA volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children removed from their homes by gathering information to help judges decide where these children can safely and permanently live. CASA volunteers can make an immediate and critical difference. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult during a frightening, uncertain time.In 2015, more than 921 local volunteers advocated for 2,680 Dallas children. However, nearly 2,000 abused children did not have a CASA volunteer.
“For 21 years, Parade of Playhouses has brought awareness to the plight of local children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect — [this event] brings both needed funds and critical awareness to the needs of these children,” said Mike Brosin, a Dallas CASA board member and Managing Partner with Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti, a sponsor of this event. “I first became involved with Dallas CASA after my wife saw the playhouses and was moved to become an advocate. If one of these houses can bring one more advocate who helps find permanency for one child, we’ll know a life has been changed.”
Dallas CASA recently named Becca Haynes Leonard as director of development just in time for Parade of Playhouses. Leonard brings ten years of nonprofit development experience to Dallas CASA. Most recently director of fund development at Austin Street Center, she has previously worked for Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support and Attitudes & Attire.
Funds raised from Parade of Playhouses will help the agency continue its growth trajectory to serve all children in need. Dallas CASA has been on an unprecedented growth path since 2012, when it launched a $37 million capital campaign called “Abused Children Can’t Wait.” The campaign aimed to change Dallas CASA’s focus from the children with a volunteer advocate to the children without a volunteer advocate, making the agency’s goal to serve every child in need. Since then, Dallas CASA staff has grown by 52 percent, advocates have grown by 50 percent, children served has grown by 53 percent, and the organization has moved into a new 25,020-square-foot building to accommodate the growth.
CASA volunteers Dallas CASA hopes to become the largest nonprofit CASA program in the country to serve all abused children in protective care. To learn more about advocating for abused children, call 214-827-8961 or visit dallascasa.org.