Inaugural Theta-CASA Ambassadorship a success

Jun 17 2015

By Callie Langford

After an inspiring meeting with representatives from Kappa Alpha Theta at last year’s National CASA conference, we decided to build our relationship with the Texas Theta chapter. We are incredibly appreciative for the support of this group of impressive young women, which has been raising money for CASA for years. This year, we took our relationship to the next level by developing a Theta Ambassadorship program to support teens in our Transitioning Youth Project. Members of UT Theta applied and four women were accepted: Carrie Blackmon, Isa Hetherington, Becca Spigel and Meagan Jacobs.

The ambassadors spent the semester learning more about CASA. They attended our 3-hour CASA 101 volunteer training introduction and they observed volunteers in action at the Travis County Courthouse. They met with our Transitioning Youth Team Leader, Erik Lugo, as well as our Executive Director, Laura Wolf, to learn more about our agency and, specifically, the Transitioning Youth Project.

After the education portion, we asked them to take on a specific project: helping out teenagers who would be aging out of the foster care system. Erik told them about some of the specific needs our teens had, including a youth who desperately needed a laptop to get school work done in their foster home so they could prep for graduation and college. The ambassadors planned a multi-angle fundraising program to engage their fellow Thetas, as well as surrounding fraternities and sororities on UT Campus. They built a Tilt campaign to fundraise online and, with the help of fellow Theta Emma Yee, developed a profit-share relationship with Pinkberry Westlake that is continuing into the fall semester in support of CASA.

The ambassadors surpassed their goals and raised $1,846 total! These funds have already been used to secure the laptop, and we are in the process of purchasing a bike for a teen to get to school and work, home furnishings for a young adult’s first apartment, baby items for a teen mom, a class ring for a deserving graduate and more!

The Theta ambassadors took complete ownership of this project and did an incredible job of supporting our Transitioning Youth Project by building new relationships for CASA and introducing us to new online fundraising tools.

“The CASA Ambassadorship Program was an enlightening experience because I received an upfront view of what CASA actually does, making the nonprofit much more tangible. I can honestly say that this experience with CASA reaffirms that I want to become an advocate myself one day,” said Carrie Blackmon, who turned her CASA experience into a full semester course by volunteering in our office and at events to learn even more about nonprofit work.

 “I really enjoyed my experience with CASA this past semester. Attending court and CASA 101 really opened my eyes to just how much a CASA volunteer cares and can make a difference in a child's life,” said Meagan Jacobs.

All four of the ambassadors agreed this is an experience that needs to be continued and expanded upon to get even more Thetas actively with CASA. We are excited to continue our work with the Thetas to build long-term relationships between CASA and these motivated and generous young women.