Peace Love Yoga Studio in Vineland has been a dedicated partner with CASA of CGS for a year now! It started with Joy, a yoga instructor and massage specialist, who decided to give up her time and skill to help raise funds for CASA by offering “Charity Chair Massages” in different locations such as their studio, gyms and local events. She has collectively given over $300 to help with our mission of giving every abused and neglected child a voice in court. Peace Love Yoga Studio decided to take it a step further and held a Duffel Bag Drive, where they collected duffel bags, blankets, stuffed toys and hygiene products to give to our foster kids. The average foster care child moves 7 times before the age of 18. Most of the time, these children are moving place to place carrying only a garbage bag. CASA Advocates gift each CASA child a duffel bag filled with these items as a welcome gift when they are assigned to a new case, that way none of our CASA kids are using trash bags to carry their belongings. The drive was such a success, they have become a continuous drop off location for donations for our duffel bag project.
Several weeks ago I had a Peace Love Yoga member, Caitlin Rooney, reach out to us about how she was so inspired she wanted to offer her beautiful home by the lake in Millville as a location to hold a yoga session to benefit CASA. Our team is grateful for Caitlin and Natalie Vargas-Suppi, owner of Peace Love Yoga Studio, for this amazing opportunity of not only taking the time out of their day and schedule to help us raise $200 and bring in donations of backpacks, school supplies and items for duffel bags but they helped raise awareness of our non-profit, our mission and the children we serve.
I spent some time talking to Natalie Vargas-Suppi who said, “Instead of giving just a little bit to several different projects, we wanted to focus on one and make a huge difference.” And that is exactly what they are doing, making a huge difference for the foster kids in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties. Thank you so much Natalie, Caitlin and everyone who has donated and attended the yoga event.
The event was fun, relaxing and beautiful. I’ve never attended a yoga class, so this was my first time. Natalie was the yoga instructor for the night and made my first experience memorable and easy to follow. Though I fell on some poses, no one cared, no one was judging, it was about learning and growth. Hoping we can hold another event like this soon!
So what is is CASA?
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties is an organization of volunteer advocates who stand up on behalf of abused and neglected children. Over 1,000 abused and neglected children in our three counties are currently waiting on the critical voice of a volunteer advocate.
What is a CASA volunteer? A CASA volunteer is an officer of the court. A judge appoints a special advocate, as mandated in SDCL 26-8A-20, to represent the best interest of an abused or neglected child in court proceedings.
What does a CASA volunteer do? A trained CASA volunteer gathers information for the court. He or she recommends to the judge what the child needs to be safe and what is in the child’s best interest in securing a permanent home. A CASA volunteer advocates for a speedy decision that considers a child’s sense of time.