Founded in 1997 by a group of CASA/GALs (Guardians ad Litem), CASA Partners sponsors four direct service projects: My Bag, My School Bag, Bee Kind Garden, and Needs from the Heart.
Children who are placed in foster care often arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Through My Bag, CASA Partners provides these children with an age appropriate duffel bag or backpack containing everything from a toothbrush and other personal care items to clothing and school supplies.
Each bag also contains a handmade quilt or afghan, a stuffed toy, and books to give the child solace. No longer are the children in Spokane County’s foster care system called the “garbage bag kids,” a term applied when personal belongings were carried in black plastic garbage bags. Even more important than providing for the basic needs for living, My Bag gives these children dignity and comfort at a very frightening and difficult time in their lives.
Since its beginning in April of 1998, the My Bag project, including My School Bag, has provided more than 10,000 bags filled with love, dignity, and comfort for these children.
For more information relating to the My Bag program please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My School Bag
My School Bag provides necessities for the start of school for over 270 children each year. Identified as needing this help by social workers and public health nurses, these children are at risk of abuse and neglect, and in some cases are living with relatives with limited resources. The social workers provide sizes for each child and a monumental shopping frenzy begins. Through My School Bag, each child receives a new backpack filled with school supplies, new clothes and shoes for the first day of school. Each bag also contains a comforting quilt, a stuffed animal, and personal toiletries. These bags are delivered to the children in time for the first day of school.
For more information relating to the My School Bag program please email: email@example.com
Bee Kind Garden
Bee Kind Garden project is a therapeutic program designed to teach gentleness, kindness, and empathy to children removed from violent homes. Each child is matched with a trained volunteer who gives his or her undivided attention to the child while together they explore arts and crafts, nurture plants, and interact with child-friendly animals. Especially important is the fact that Bee Kind Garden is a safe place 'to be a child'.
Three basic strategies used at the Garden, help children suffering from past abuse. Child therapists are on site to help children process their feelings/behaviors and assist volunteers in understanding how to be effective with troubled children. Environmental education helps children learn to nurture living things and find a connection to the natural world through gardening and outdoor activities. Interaction with child-friendly animals encourages kindness and empathy, builds trust, and promotes healthy relationships. In sharing all these experiences with a supportive volunteer, each child is able to explore and experience the dynamics of friendship.
After a six week experience in Bee Kind Garden many children ask to return to this special and safe place.
Needs From the Heart
The requests run the gamut from a potty chair to senior pictures. They represent such basics as furniture and bedding for a child moving into a new foster home, to the fervent wish of a 15-year-old to be able to take Drivers Ed. These are items or activities that foster parents and social workers are unable to provide, but that Needs from the Heart can fulfill.
The practical needs are often essential in order for a family to be able to take in a child in need of a safe home. Equally important are the requests from the children for a skateboard, ASB card, a wagon, or bicycle. Being allowed to “just be a kid” is an important part of life and especially needed by children in the foster care system who have lost much of the innocence and joy of childhood through no fault of their own.
Over the years, Needs from the Heart has shopped for and provided athletic equipment, musical instruments, a week at summer camp, memberships for swimming lessons, strollers, cribs, school clothing, music lessons, beds, dressers, mattresses, tricycles, toys, yearbooks. . . all to let a child experience the good parts of being a child and to help those who are helping the children.
For more information relating to the Needs from the Heart program please email: firstname.lastname@example.org