Melissa Cohen, Benefit Co-chair with two friends posing for the ever so popular photo booth at CASA-NYC’s 2018 Associate Board Soir é e.

2018 CASA-NYC Associate Board Soirée.

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2018 CASA Heroes Luncheon

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 Left to right: Mahogany K., Naya S., Scott Koondel, Rosie W., Khadijah A.r, Shyanne H., and Nigel W.

Left to right: Mahogany K., Naya S., Scott Koondel, Rosie W., Khadijah A.r, Shyanne H., and Nigel W.

From One Foster Youth to Another

Youth Leadership Council Members Meet Scott Koondel

CASA-NYC recently launched a new initiative, the Youth Leadership Council (YLC), composed of former and current foster youth. The YLC members are currently completing training in public speaking, storytelling, and professional networking in preparation for presenting to child welfare professionals and volunteers in order to impact change.

On Monday, July 9th, CASA-NYC’s YLC met with Scott Koondel, CBS Executive, former foster youth and current foster care reform advocate. The meeting took place at Hogan Lovells, in the same building where Scott started his first job when he was the same age as many of our YLC members! YLC members Mahogany K., Naya S., Rosie W., Khadijah A., Shyanne H., and Nigel W. were in attendance, in addition to CASA-NYC’s Executive Director, Kerry Moles and volunteer Advocate, Gretchen Holowaty.

The meeting started off with Scott sharing his experiences in foster care before the YLC members joined the conversation to share their career aspirations and how advocacy can change the face of foster care in NYC.

A powerful moment during the discussion was sparked by Khadijah, Mahogany, and Nigel when they asked Scott how he balanced emotions related to his traumatic past with his advocacy. This lead to a discussion on how to deal with the trauma related to being in foster care, whether one has been discharged for several years or several decades. Reliving the pain of the past in order to make an impact and potential change was an important motivator for all of the participants; through the power of sharing their stories, they hope to change the experiences of future youth in foster care.

With this in mind, the conversation shifted to more hopeful endeavors, such as reinventing oneself. Scott shared that he wakes up daily with the mindset of a student; he doesn’t know everything, but by listening to others, he can learn a little more. This was a great experience and first step for the YLC members to envision their own futures and to share their visions for foster care reform.

Look out for more information on the YLC in the future! As Scott said, our members “wear foster care like a badge of honor.” Their storytelling and public speaking abilities make these youth amazing advocates for sharing their own narratives to change the system!

A Word Of Thanks

  • Gretchen Holowaty (volunteer extraordinaire!) and Hogan Lovells for so fervently supporting the YLC through the donation of a regular meeting room.

  • Scott Koondel, who made time in his busy schedule to meet with the YLC members.

  • YLC members, most of whom came to the meeting after work, still in their uniforms, and still gave great energy and life to the conversation with Scott.

 

CASA-NYC's 2018 Spring Gala Honorees: long-term volunteer Advocate, Karen Azoulay and former foster youth, CBS Executive Vice President Scott Koondel.

2018 Spring Gala

A Time For Heroes

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CASA-NYC's 13th annual Spring Gala, A Time for Heroes, took place on May 16, 2017 at Marquee New York. It featured a performance by comedian Monroe Martin; moving speeches by Executive Director, Kerry Moles and 2018 Spring Gala honorees, Scott Koondel and Karen Azoulay; a celebrity tribute film to the honorees; and an action-packed live auction and paddle raise.

Monroe Martin, a former foster youth, kicked off the evening by regaling guests with his life experiences in foster care. His ability “to tell his story with honesty and humor is a great example of the kind of resilience we see in foster youth every day,” commented Kerry Moles. Ms. Moles talked about the impact of CASA Advocates in a city that saw a sharp increase in the number of abuse and neglect cases in family court last year.  CASA-NYC has responded by doubling its efforts to provide one-on-one advocacy for foster children.

Guests were treated to a short video tribute of the honorees and CASA, featuring National CASA spokespeople Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw, Academy Award winner Alison Janney and Judge Judy Sheindlin.   

The first recipient of the CASA Hero Award was Karen Azoulay, who has served as a volunteer Advocate for six years and has had a tremendous impact in helping reunite families, facilitating adoption and empowering youth to live independently. Ms. Moles described her as “a woman [who] usually gets her way, which is the absolute best quality in a CASA Advocate.”      

Ms. Moles also presented the CASA Hero Award to CBS Executive Vice President and former foster youth Scott Koondel, whose resourcefulness and resiliency helped him overcome abuse and neglect while in the NYC foster care system as a child.   Mr. Koondel now uses his platform in the entertainment industry to raise awareness and support for CASA and many other liked-minded organizations, in hopes that children in foster care today will get the protection and support that he did not.

Before guests retired to conversation and to the beats of DJ Dan Guerra, auctioneer Charles Antin presented a live auction featuring several experience packages. Guests eagerly bid on an all-expense trip to Los Angeles to have a family dispute mediated by Judge Judy, exclusive tickets and access to the New York Mets, a private group dinner at Little Owl the Townhouse, a private group tasting at Moët Hennessy, and an opportunity to host a Bowlmor party for CASA-NYC’s Youth Leadership Council. The auction was followed by a live paddle raise in which dozens of generous guests participated to help us raise more than $400,000.

Many thanks to our sponsors, supporters and more than 325 guests for helping to make CASA-NYC’s 2018 A Time for Heroes Spring Gala our most successful event ever!

A Word Of Thanks

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, board of directors and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and who made this evening possible! 

Sponsors

Akerman
Brookfield Property Partners
CBRE
CBS Corporation
Comcast NBC Universal
Eaton Partners
Euclid Transactional
EvensonBest
Genseler
Jessica and Todd Aaron
Heather and Joshua Benn
Lauren Gullion
Cindy Holland
Laurent Lisimachio
Jim Martin
Kari and David Robbins
Joanne & Rich Seelaus
Andrea and Adam Taetle
Kramer Levin
Lower Manhattan Community Church
Skadden
The CW
Virginia Aaron
Shannon and David Barden
Missy and Rocco Basile
Sarah and Stuart Britton
Firth Calhoun
Julie Safer Cooper and Steve Cooper
Grace Cowan
Jennifer and Eric Friedland
The Marcy and Alan Honig Charitable Foundation
Charlotte and Adam Fuller
Emily and Huntley Garriott
Eileen Libutti and Brian Steel
Navid and Joanne Mahmoodzadegan
Don Matteson
Pauline Nakios
Marlaine Olinick
Henrietta Pertuz
Jeanine and Louis Salvatore
Bree Sheahan and Scott Twibell
Anne and Stacy Wall
Abigail Weinshank

Co-Chairs

Shannon Barden
Missy Basile
Heather Benn
Kari Robbins
Bree Sheahan
Andrea Taetle

Host Committee

Jessica Aaron
Cathleen Clements
Leah Coakley
Emma Fine
Lisa Frenette
Emily Garriott
Merritt Greene
Danielle V. Greenberg
Vikram Kumar
Julianne Kwon
Eileen Libutti and Brian Steel
Cara and Dan Marriott
Hedy Matteson
Tom and Loraine Morgan
Jeane and Nicolas Muniz
Purvi Padia
Dorie Paparo
Susan and Sean Paroff
Saydra Battersby Quintanilla
Shelley Rapp
Frances Reilly
Dr. Julie Russak and Andrew Sorokin
Julie Safer
Allison Schoenthal
Eric Slovin
Marissa Soroudi
Charell Star
David Tackel
Jami Mills Vibbert
Zach Weiss
Abigail Weinshank
Hillary and Justin Wyatt


 2018 CASA Hero Award recipient, Robert Swanton with Executive Director, Kerry Moles.

2018 CASA Hero Award recipient, Robert Swanton with Executive Director, Kerry Moles.

2018 Advocate Appreciation Evening

Recognizing CASA Advocates

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Day after day, CASA-NYC serves children and youth in foster care due in large part to the efforts and labors of our team of volunteer Advocates and with the help of our small staff of social workers. These civic-minded individuals donate more than 26,000 hours to serve more than 1,000 children every year! Our Advocates spend their days researching much needed resources, collaborating with case workers and attorneys, updating family court judges, and so much more, all in an effort to help foster children move to safe, loving, and permanent homes and youth aging out of foster care prepare for independent living.

Volunteer appreciation is every day at CASA-NYC but once a year we gather to celebrate the invaluable service our volunteer Advocates provide to those in need. On Wednesday, April 11th CASA-NYC held its annual Advocate Appreciation Evening at a trendy loft in Tribeca, NYC. Organized by our Volunteer Coordinator, Lizaura German, the evening recognized the 146 volunteer Advocates who donate their time to upholding CASA-NYC’s mission. We honored CASA Hero Award recipient, Robert “Bob” Swanton for his 18 years of dedicated service to foster children and youth.

We consider every volunteer Advocate a champion in the foster care arena, without whom children and youth might fall through the cracks of the system. CASA-NYC staff and Board thank our Advocates for so passionately helping foster a hope for a better future!

A Word Of Thanks

We are thankful to the following businesses for their support:

A special thanks to Karen Azoulay for her support and direction in planning this year’s Advocate Appreciation Evening.


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2017 Fall Gala 

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CASA-NYC's 12th annual Fall Gala, hosted by CASA-NYC’s Associate Board, took place on November 2, 2017.

Our MC for the evening was comedian Dan Nanian, best known for his clean comedy. Dan has performed for numerous of politicians and celebrities including Barack Obama. CASA’s Associate Board honored advocate extraordinaire, Marissa Soroudi. The evening also featured a live DJ set, and a silent auction which offered exclusive experiences and luxury items. 

Thanks to our sponsors, supporters and more than 150 guests, who made this event such a success! More than $35,000 was raised to support CASA's work with children and youth in foster care. We are grateful to the sponsors of CASA's 2017 Fall Gala, including, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Center View Partners, Duane Morris, and Paul Yi. 

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, Associate Board members, and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and who made this evening possible! 

 


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Our emcee for the afternoon was Charell Star, CASA Board Member and former foster youth. Dr. Kathryn Conroy was presented with the first CASA Heroes Award for her extraordinary leadership in the field of child welfare over the past 50 years. Dr. Conroy has been on the board of CASA-NYC for two decades. The award was presented by CASA Board Chair Jessica Aaron who shared anecdotes about Dr. Conroy’s mentorship and impact on generations of social workers and advocates for women and children.

Khadijah Alexander, college student and former foster youth, and Barbara Edwards Deslman, volunteer Advocate, spoke about their work together as Barbara supported Khadijah’s transition from foster care to life as a college student living on her own. Executive Director Kerry Moles made remarks about CASA’s role in New York City’s child welfare system.

Thanks to our sponsors, supporters and guests and to our host committee members:

Jessica Aaron, Heather Benn, Odile Buclez-Birsh, Laura Busker, Leah Coakley, Kathryn Conroy, Barbara Delsman, Kendreia Elvis Heick, Carolyn Gershenson, Merritt Greene, Stephanie Madden, Hedy Matteson, Jami Mills Vibbert, Frances Reilly, Julie Safer, Joanne Seelaus, Bree Sheahan, Charell Star, and Abigail Weinshank.

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, board of directors, and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and made our first annual luncheon a tremendous success!


2017 Spring Gala – A Time for Heroes

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CASA-NYC's 12th annual Spring Gala, A Time for Heroes, took place on May 3, 2017 at Marquee New York. 

Our wonderful MC for the evening was NBC News Anchor David Ushery. Executive Director Kerry Moles spoke about the impact of CASA volunteers and introduced honoree Amity Boye. Ms. Boye is an attorney with the law firm White & Case who has served as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate for more than 18 years. She has had a tremendous positive impact on dozens of children in foster care and youth transitioning to independent living. 

The event program also featured a live auction in which several experience packages, including tickets to sporting events, live show tapings, and exclusive dining opportunities, were auctioned to raise vital funds for the organization. A paddle raise in support of CASA’s programs concluded the event program. 

Thanks to our sponsors, supporters and more than 300 guests, this was our most successful fundraising event yet! In total more than $350,000 was raised to support CASA's programming. This amounts to more than a quarter of our annual budget. 

We are grateful to the sponsors of CASA's 2017 Spring Gala, including: 

Akerman
Ambridge Partners
Belvedere Vodka
Brookfield Property Partners
CBRE
DH Capital
EvensonBest
Gensler
Lockton
Skadden
White & Case

The event was co-chaired by: 

Karen and Andrew Azoulay
Heather and Josh Benn
Ailsa and Jason Fox
Shelley and Ken Rapp 

The host committee members were: 

Jessica and Todd Aaron
Natalie and Ethan Auerbach
Ellen and Martyn Ball
Shannon and David Barden
Missy and Rocco Basile
Colette and Daniel Bennett
Hilary Blumberg
Leslie and Paul Brown
Laura Busker
Firth Calhoun
Karen and Ted Casey
Kathryn Conroy
Grace and Ross Cowan
Mary Kate and Jude Donato
Bridgid Flanagan
Emily and Huntley Garriott
Danielle Greenberg
Kate Grieser
Jenny Harris
Su and Nik Korpus
Julianne Kwon
Abby and Anton Levy
Paola Lima
Luguang Luan
Lara Magzan
Merrill and Chris Mahan
Jim Martin
Julia Massa
Kelly Mateo
Don Matteson
Hedy Matteson
Jami Mills Vibbert
Sarah Min and Matt Pincus
Sharon and Bill Monahan
Tom and Lorraine Morgan
Jennifer Muhlrad
Dawn and Phil Nadeau
Pauline and Thomas Nakios
Marlaine and Andrew Olinick
Purvi and Harsh Padia
Dorie and Ari Paparo
Susan and Sean Paroff
KK and Bo Peabody
Frances Reilly
Isabel Rivera
Kari and David Robbins
Dr. Julie Russak and Andrew Sorokin
Julie Safer Cooper
Jeanine Salvatore
Dean and Kyra Schulhof
Bree Sheahan
Ashley Smyth
Lauren Solomando
Sarah Sulkowski
Allison Sullens
Andrea and Adam Taetle
Hillary and Justin Wyatt

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, board of directors and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and who made this evening possible! 

2016 Fall Gala

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CASA-NYC's annual 11th Fall Gala, hosted by CASA-NYC’s Junior Board, took place on October 5, 2016 at Hudson Terrace. 

Our MC for the evening was comedian and former foster youth Martin Monroe III. He spoke about his experiences in the foster care system, and the important role that Court Appointed Special Advocates play in supporting youth in foster care. The evening also featured a live DJ set, and a silent auction which offered exclusive experiences packages and luxury items. 

Thanks to our sponsors, supporters and more than 150 guests, who made this event such a success! In total more than $40,000 was raised to support CASA's programming. 

We are grateful to the sponsors of CASA's 2016 Fall Gala, including: 

Ambridge Partners
Lockton
Project Resources Group
Scentworld
Viacom

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, Junior Board members, and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and who made this evening possible! 

 

Advocate Appreciation Event

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2016 Spring Gala – CASA HAUS Party 

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CASA-NYC's 11th annual Spring Gala, CASA HAUS Party, took place on May 11, 2016 at HAUS Nightclub. 

Our wonderful MC for the evening was Talk Stoop host Cat Greenleaf. She moderated a panel discussion between Board President Kathryn Conroy, former foster youth and CASA-NYC Junior Board member Daniel Gura, and Board member and CASA Advocate Ailsa Fox, who spoke about the impact of CASA advocacy on the lives of children and youth in foster care.  

The event program also featured with a live auction in which several experience packages, including tickets to sporting events, live show tapings, and exclusive travel opportunities, were auctioned to raise vital funds for the organization. A paddle raise in support of CASA’s programs concluded the event program. 

Thanks to our sponsors, supporters and more than 200 guests, who made this event such a success! In total more than $250,000 was raised to support CASA's programming. 

We are grateful to the sponsors of CASA's 2017 Spring Gala, including: 

Clifford Chance
Cushman & Wakefield
Gensler

The event was co-chaired by:

Karen and Andrew Azoula
Ailsa and Jason Fox
Jennifer and Eric Friedland
Emily and Justin Rann
Shelley and Ken Rapp

The host committee members were:

Jessica Aaron
Conway Bate
Heather Benn
Laura Busker
Julie Safer Cooper
Danielle Greenberg
Julianne Kwon
Hedy Matteson
Jami Mills Vibbert

The honorary benefit committee members were:

Elliott and Shannon Aronson
Summer and Clyde Anderson
Joe and Janet Azelby
Ellen and Martyn Ball
Hillary Blumberg
Sarane Boocock
Firth Calhoun
Grace and Ross Cowan
Bess Oransky and Craig deLaurier
Audrey and Dan DiSpigna
Benan Ellis
Sima Familant
Kate Grieser
Christina and Doug Kepple
Amy and Sheron Korpus
Lauren Solimando and Ed Kovary
Sarah and Alec Machiels
Paola Lima and David Mafoud
Jim Martin
Julia Massa
Don Matteson
Joan and Dennis Mills
Tom and Loraine Morgan
Marlaine and Andrew Olinick
Purvi and Harsh Padia
Amy Montoya and Peter Scheman
Dean and Kyra Schulhof
Allison and Stephen Sullens
Hillary and Justin Wyatt
Anne and Stacy Wall 

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, board of directors, and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and who made this evening possible! 

 

2015 Fall Gala

CASA-NYC's annual 10th Fall Gala, hosted by CASA-NYC’s Junior Board, took place on October 1, 2015 at Up and Down Nightclub. 

Daniel Gura, Junior Board member and former youth in foster care delivered the keynote address. He spoke about the important advocacy that Court Appointed Special Advocates lead in service of improving the lives of children and youth navigating the foster care system. The evening also featured a live set by DJ Kyle Powers, and a silent auction which offered exclusive experiences packages and luxury items. 

We are grateful to the sponsors of CASA's 2015 Fall Gala, including: 

Dorsey & Whitney, LLP
Lockton
NTT Innovation Institute Inc.
Project Resources Group
Scentworld
Universal Attractions
Viacom

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, Junior Board members, and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and who made this evening possible! 

2015 Spring Gala – Speak Up for a Child

CASA-NYC's 10th annual Spring Gala, Speak Up for a Child, took place on June 2, 2015 at Hudson Terrace. 

Our MC for the evening was Talk Stoop host Cat Greenleaf. CASA Volunteer Kristian Satter was honored for her dedication and commitment to the organization’s mission, and her many years of service as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. 

Thanks to our sponsors, supporters and guests, who made this event such a success! 

We are grateful to the sponsors of CASA's 2015 Spring Gala, including: 

Brookfield Property Partners
Greenberg Traurig LLP
M&T Bank

The event was co-chaired by: 

Karen and Andrew Azoulay
Ailsa and Jason Fox
Emily and Justin Rann
Shelley and Ken Rapp

The honorary benefit committee members were:

Summer and Clyde Anderson
Hillary Blumberg
Leslie Chang and Ben Appen
Firth Calhoun
Grace and Ross Cowan
Alec and Helen Henry
Loaina and Thane Kerner
Amy and Sheron Korpus
Sarah and Alec Machiels
Merrill and Chris Mahan
Jim Martin
Don Matteson
Tom and Loraine Morgan
Dean and Kyra Schulhof
Emily and Rob Shamlian
Bree Sheahan and Scott Twibell
Carly Walker and Peter Stern
Anne and Stacy Wall
Zenia Zaveri

On behalf of CASA-NYC's staff, board of directors, and the children we serve, thank you to all who joined us and who made this evening possible!