Connecticut’s court-appointed special advocates program, which connects children with volunteers who advocate for them in court, has received more than $ 130,000 in grants.
CASA, which unified this year as a state-wide organization, matches children who have been victims of abuse or neglect with a volunteer who follows them through their case and advocates for their interests. superior. They recently received two federally funded grants from the National CASA Association – totaling nearly $ 120,000 – and a private grant of $ 10,250 from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration.
These funds have enabled the organization to hire two new staff members and will help them continue to recruit, train and support volunteers, according to a statement from Josiah H. Brown, executive director of CASA of Southern Connecticut.
CASA hired Catherine Ramirez Mejia as Director of Operations and Program Coordinator. Rameriz Mejia previously worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the North Hartford Promise Zone after studying at the University of Connecticut and public policy at Brandeis University.
Vallerie Dontes has also been hired as the new program coordinator. Previously, she worked as a supervisor of attorneys at CASA in Dallas. She also worked as Associate Director of Outpatient Psychiatry Services at the University of Illinois at Chicago after earning her Master of Science in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from Boston University.
“These new fellow staff join our dedicated volunteers, increasing their numbers while adhering to CASA’s national standards in the name of the best interests of children,” said Brown.
The organization is actively seeking volunteers to join its team. For more information, visit https://casasouthct.org/south-connecticut/home.html.