As we celebrate the turn of a decade and welcome a new year, we are humbled as we reflect on 2019 and the generosity and support of our community members and volunteers. We are so fortunate to live in a community that truly believes it takes a village to raise a child, and instead of just believing it, they step up and do it.
2019 was a monumental year for CASA of Rock County. In addition to serving more children than we ever have before, CASA of Rock County also made the leap to become our own independent nonprofit organization!
After over a decade operating as a program of Family Services of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, it was a major milestone to become a stand-alone nonprofit organization on July 1st. We are ecstatic about having our own Board of Directors who will help steer our program and mission to serve as many child victims of abuse and neglect as possible in our community. Our Board of Directors include Lori Stottler, President, Andrea Gonstead, Vice President, Celease Fox, Treasurer, Kelly Sanchez, Secretary, and Gretchen Burgess.
CASA is positioned well at the close of 2019 to continue to grow and expand into the coming new year; however, this is not a state of permanency for CASA. We need to do more. Last year, 59 CASA volunteers advocated for 151 children who were abused or neglected, but over a hundred children remain on our waitlist.
The CASA staff and board of directors believe that EVERY child who has experienced abuse or neglect in Rock County deserves an advocate by their side. With the support of our “village” we believe that together, we can make that happen.
2019 CASA Highlights
We are overjoyed to announce that CASA received a $160,000 grant from United Way Blackhawk Region! Over the two-year grant period, funds will be used to recruit, train, and support CASA volunteers from the community. This will strengthen our program so ultimately, we can expand to serve more children in Rock County. We are extremely grateful to be a funded partner of United Way Blackhawk Region and their donors. Thank you for your continuous support and all you do for our community!
In 2019 we received over $17,000 in grants for our “Provide a Voice” volunteer recruitment and training campaign. This campaign makes it possible for us to increase program capacity and serve more children with a more diverse volunteer base. Thank you to all who have supported us and help us spread the word about CASA of Rock County: Ecolab, Stateline Community Foundation, Alliant, United Way Blackhawk Region, Women’s Fund, and Educators Credit Union
Pinwheels for Prevention
Every April CASA of Rock County holds our Pinwheels for Prevention event at the courthouse, planting a pinwheel garden to symbolize innocence and the happy future all children deserve. This past year we planted 3,000 pinwheels to represent all the reports of child abuse and neglect received in Rock County the previous year. Students from Roosevelt and Jackson Elementary also joined us to sing “Children of Hope”. Judge Michael Haakenson, our Family Court Judge, was our guest speaker and he spoke on the importance of being a community that works together to keep children safe and support children who have experienced abuse or neglect need.
Break the Cycle: Building Resilience for the Next Generation Luncheon Our 1st annual Break the Cycle luncheon last April was a great success. 178 people attended and raised our program approximately $7,000! We awarded five “CASA Impact Awards” to individuals who have been essential to our growth and success over the years, positively impacting the lives of hundreds of children. The 2019 award recipients included retired Judge Alan Bates, John Pfleiderer, Chris Darr, Ellen Vierthaler, and Educators Credit Union. The awards were followed by the dynamic and uplifting national speaker, Tamra Oman, who delivered a moving keynote on her childhood experiences and how they impacted her way into adulthood.
Our Luau at the Looking Glass was in August this past year. The Looking Glass generously donated and prepared a pig roast buffet for everyone who purchased a ticket for the event. We also had one of our biggest basket raffles yet with the top item being a $2,500 Tuff Shed! In total we raised $3,800.
The largest community fundraiser for CASA in 2019 was our East Point Meat Raffle in September. Overall, we raised $8,200! Along with the meat raffle, we had a 50/50 raffle, a basket raffle and a live auction lead by Bob Johnson. All the auction items were donated by East Point Sportz Bar and their supporters.
Our last (and favorite) event of 2019 was our Wish List Toy Drive. With the help of many, we collected gifts for over 140 children! Sometimes the generosity of people in our community and our local businesses leaves us speechless, and this year’s toy drive was one of those times! We would like to extend our thanks to the employees at Educators Credit Union, Adecco Janesville, Beloit Health System Laboratory, East Point Sportz Pub, Jazzercise Janesville, and all the individuals who helped make the holidays a little brighter for the families we serve.
Thank you to all our 2019 volunteer advocates! We are beyond grateful for all our volunteer advocates who work so hard to champion for the best interest of the children we serve. They truly make a difference and care about helping our community. Thank you for being the light in the life of a child!
Richard Babcock · Terry Babcock · Dennis Babish · Denise Siemers-Babish · Stacy Banker · Belinda Bauer · Elise Bergman · Devin Blay-Stahl · Tricia Bosteder · Julie Brady · Jane Brewer · Lonnie Brigham Jr. · Andy Byrd · Kianna Byrd · Marlene Bysted · Barb Craddick · Stephanie DeLong · Kim Dennis · Dan Dibbert · Diane Dooley · Jason Engleson · Tammy Flesch-Strickland · Jon Flora · Karen Foley Stauss · Ken Forbeck · Nancy Forbeck · Jane Foreman · Kathleen Gallagher · Twila Garza · Julie Gietzel · Kayla Guercio · Jamie Gwaltney · D Hahn · Earaina Hahn · Suzanne Hamilton · Katlyn Hanover · Karyssa Heppner · Kim Hubanks · Emily Kerl · Shelley Lemirande · Kath Magee · Deb McCann · Kelly McGuire · Roy Meyer · Don Miller · Shelley Navis · Donna Oliver · Dennis Pauli · Mary Pauli · Kari Pearsall · Cara Pfeiffer · Cindy Pflueger · Callie Pinkstaff · Judy Pophal · Tammi Rabbach · Verna Saladino · Patti Simonds · Chris Sjoblom · Lacey Sonntag · Shawna Stevenoski · Connie Sveum · Silvia Thiele · Angel Tullar · Ellen Vierthaler · Jon Wangerin · Christy Willett · Amanda Wilson · Kim Wise · Sharon Wolter · Lynn Wood · Julie Wyss · Peter Wyss