A ribbon cutting was held earlier in August for the Granville Home of Hope in Fresno. The fundraiser included CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties as a beneficiary. Photo contributed.

published on August 24, 2022 - 2:14 PM
Written by Ben Hensley

This summer, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which acts as a voice for abused and neglected children who have been placed in foster care, is helping bring much needed joy to  the children they support with the first annual Summer Fun Initiative.

The Summer Fun Initiative was driven by the desire to give children in foster care an opportunity to experience fun, interactive summertime activities at no cost to the children or their foster families.

“Many times our children and youth in foster care, they don’t have the opportunity to experience the ten weeks of summer for a variety of reasons,” said Executive Director of CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties Wilma Tom-Hashimoto. “Often, they have maybe changed homes, changed schools, and there may not be resources for them where they’re at for these extra things.”

Following the challenges of a nearly two-year long pandemic, CASA saw this as urgently important for the wellbeing of the children.

“The mental health of these young children quickly declined because they were isolated,” Tom-Hashimoto said.

With limited budget options, CASA approached different businesses for potential donations and involvement in the first round of the program.

No Surrender Laser Tag, MB2 Raceway, Dave and Busters, John’s Incredible Pizza and others have given donations to the program, with more sponsors hoping to participate in the future.

“We feel so blessed that our business community is so supportive of our foster youth,” Tom-Hashimoto said.

To date, the Summer Fun Initiative has helped 89 of CASA’s children get to experience these summertime activities, ranging from laser tag, to go karting and more.

In addition to the Summer Fun Initiative, CASA also has several other events planned this fall and early 2023, including the 23rd annual CASA Crab Feed, which takes place Sept. 9.

The organization is also a beneficiary of the 17th Granville Home of Hope Sweepstakes, offering tickets for $100 to be entered into a sweepstakes, in which the grand prize winner will win a new house built by Granville Homes.

The fundraiser returns 100% of the proceeds to each of the nonprofit organizations it supports.

Other upcoming CASA fundraisers include the 2nd annual Chef Cook Off in early 2023, as well as other events that will be announced soon.

Individuals or businesses interested in donating to CASA’s Summer Fun Initiative can contact CASA Resource Development Coordinator Rebecca Johnson at (559) 417-8794 or by email at rebeccajohnson@casafresno.org.

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