Amy Welch: Longtime, Dedicated CASA Supporter

Dedicated, caring, committed and always willing to lend a hand. These are the excellent descriptors of Snowfest committee member Amy Welch. Another? Lots of fun

CASA just held its 21st annual Snowfest at Loon Mountain and despite the wild weather, the event was a huge success due in large part to Amy’s efforts.

Amy first came to volunteer with CASA in 2013 because she was ready to get involved in her community. She learned of CASA during a presentation at work and after speaking with friends and coming to understand its mission, she first volunteered on the marketing and communications committee before shifting to events, specifically Snowfest.

“It’s so funny that Snowfest is the event I chose because I hate the cold!” Amy says.

Though she doesn’t ski, Amy spends the day at Snowfest helping with registration, raffle sales and pitching in wherever she can in the Governor’s Pavilion. Being there is fun because she loves being part of the excitement of the day and being able to celebrate our advocates for all they do.

Her participation in Snowfest goes beyond day-of duties. For the last couple years Amy has driven the event’s incredible raffle, and she has used her marketing skills to assist with developing new materials to help spread the word about Snowfest, among numerous other roles she has taken on to help make the event a success.

She landed as a Snowfest committee volunteer because she says one naturally gravitates to what they’re comfortable with and good at.  As a senior manager at wedü, a digital marketing agency in Manchester, Amy wanted to use her skills to help build an event that shows our advocates that not only CASA supports them and the important work they’re doing, but so does the community around them.  Event planning and organizing was the perfect fit.

“These kids are so fortunate to have a CASA as part of their lives.  We do what we can to support and celebrate (CASA volunteer advocates) at Snowfest, but they deserve so much more!”

What Amy says she loves most about volunteering with CASA is how deeply committed everyone associated with the organization is, whether a CASA volunteer advocate, a committee volunteer, board member or employee.

When she was doing her research, Amy was particularly impressed with CASA’s low administrative overhead and how people spoke about CASA with such pride.

“Even with just people I meet around town, everyone who knows CASA is so enthusiastically supportive and proud of the organization,” Amy says. “How can you not want to be a part of that positive energy?”

 

 

 

Donor Spotlight: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Every day, CASA’s volunteer advocates are deeply committed to ensuring that victimized children are receiving the emotional and physical resources they need to thrive. We are grateful that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield recognizes CASA’s critical role in the health and wellbeing of children and has been a partner in this mission for nearly 20 years.

Through Anthem’s long history of supporting CASA, they have provided significant financial and volunteer backing. They have generously donated nearly $75,000 in sponsorship funding, subsequently impacting the lives of hundreds of children. Anthem associates have also served and continue to serve as CASA volunteer advocates and members of CASA’s board of directors, dedicating their time, talent and treasure as leaders of the organization.

Lisa Guertin, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire, notes that Anthem has been a strong proponent of CASA’s vision for nearly 20 years because of CASA’s critical need in the community.

“The state’s opioid crisis is having a deep impact on the next generation, and we need to ensure New Hampshire kids have a fighting chance for a stable, loving home life so they can grow up to be healthy, happy adults. This is what it’s all about for us at Anthem: making a difference in the lives of the people in the communities we serve. And CASA’s work is doing just that.”

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is profoundly dedicated to giving back to the community.

We believe that giving back is not only a privilege, it’s a responsibility,” says Stephanie DuBois, Director of Public Relations. “We take pride in giving back to our communities and make it a cornerstone of our business practices.”

CASA’s board of directors has welcomed several Anthem representatives in recent years, including Maria Proulx (Regional Vice President of Sales), Denise McDonough (now President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine), and currently Michael Burns, New Hampshire sales account executive, who is tremendously dedicated to the organization’s mission.

“As the father of six children and a recent foster parent, serving on CASA’s Board of Directors affords me the opportunity to stand up for a child who has no voice, who did not ask to be abused and who deserves the right to be loved and protected,” Michael says. “I’m proud to support CASA’s mission and give back to my community.”

And it’s not just CASA. In 2019 alone, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire and its philanthropic arm, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, invested more than $1.4 million in New Hampshire in efforts to improve overall health by addressing critical issues facing Granite Staters, such as food insecurity and the impacts of the opioid abuse crisis.

Anthem’s collaborations with local nonprofits also support other health initiatives such as cancer prevention, prenatal care, heart health, physical activity, and addressing social determinants of health. Anthem associates donate hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars in personal contributions every year to directly assist nonprofits in strengthening the New Hampshire communities where they live and work. Their volunteer and charitable giving programs have included Anthem associates packing 500 bags of nonperishable foods to support Blessings in a Backpack’s mission to provide weekend food for elementary school children, sponsoring The Farnum Center/EasterSeals NH’s “Sprit of Hope” event to raise awareness about substance misuse disorders, and supporting the Manchester Police Athletic League’s Footrace for the Fallen 5K as the presenting sponsor.

Additionally, Anthem’s “Dollars for Doers” program provides employees with financial rewards they can direct to eligible nonprofit organizations in exchange for their volunteer hours. In 2019, Stephanie says, Anthem associates in New Hampshire donated more than 1,300 hours of their time at a value of nearly $34,000. In another initiative, “Dollars for Dollars,” Anthem matches contributions to a number of health-related nonprofits, dollar for dollar, up to an annual maximum match of $5,000. According to Stephanie, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire consistently ranks highest among all Anthem affiliates in the percentage of associates (30 percent) who donate to local charities.

Thank you to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for your visionary support of New Hampshire’s children!

Donor Spotlight: Meet Tammy O’Neil

Tammy O’Neil is a passionate advocate for CASA’s mission as a volunteer advocate and, along with her husband Mike, has been a generous supporter and friend.

Tammy is fairly new to CASA, having completed training in spring of 2018. She heard about CASA through an attorney friend working with guardians ad litem, and discovered that even a lay person could volunteer as a GAL through volunteering with the CASA program. After working in the medical field for 20 years, she moved to the Seacoast and was later married. She eventually cut back to part time and continues to consult for her husbands company. Although the career change was interesting, she realized she accomplished some key initiatives as a consultant, and she “desperately needed something to feed her soul again.”

“I missed being involved in the bigger picture and making a positive difference in another human being’s life,” Tammy says. Through CASA, she found she could make a significant impact in a child’s life, without having to make a big time commitment.”

During her training, Tammy was introduced to the scope of the substance misuse crisis, not realizing, she admits, “the magnitude of the drug epidemic.” After training, Tammy took on a case in the fall of 2018.

“Children in particular are in greatest need of advocates when their parents are unable to see the trees through the forest – when they are struggling with their own difficult time,” Tammy says.

In her current case, she knows it is not due to a lack of love that there is a CASA involved, but that life can get out of control for good people, and life’s circumstances can become a tremendous burden.

“With the right support and resources, these circumstances can change,” Tammy says. “People can get wrapped up in their problems and they forget to look at real life issues. I am not judgmental, and I can say objectively that good people can and do make mistakes.”

Tammy understands first-hand how one person can make a tremendous impact in someone’s life, and has continued to pay it forward beginning with her career in healthcare many years ago.

“It was when I had my daughter and was feeling completely helpless on bedrest for four months that I realized the impact one kind person could have on my day — my life.”

In addition to her volunteer advocacy for children, she and Mike have been ardent financial supporters of CASA, attending CASA Cares for several years and participating in both the live auction and appeal. Tammy also served on the CASA Cares committee, lending her advice to auction efforts. Tammy knows how important it is for children to have a voice.

“I believe that society, particularly those with the ability to articulate and with the fortitude to advocate for the rights of those at a disadvantage, are obligated to do so,” Tammy says. Not everyone has grown up with the same opportunities available to them and we all have intrinsic differences and capacities to handle strife. I know that even the best people sometimes make poor decisions regarding their children. For some people, just getting out of their own way to help themselves is next to impossible.”

Meet Doreen Manetta: CASA Cares Chairperson & Volunteer Extraordinaire

Doreen Manetta has been a long-standing volunteer, donor and friend to CASA. As the Regional Manager/SVP of Enterprise Bank, Doreen balances a busy professional career with volunteer positions at CASA and a number of other nonprofit organizations. She currently serves as the chairperson of CASA Cares, CASA’s largest annual fundraising event, which last year raised more than $300,000. Along with an active committee of 10 members, Doreen is in throes of planning the upcoming CASA Cares gala on May 3, which will celebrate CASA’s 30 years of transformative advocacy work.

Doreen attended her first CASA event nearly 10 years ago when CASA’ s major fundraiser had been a luncheon fashion show before becoming CASA Cares in 2016. At that time, Doreen had moved to Manchester from Nashua for her career, and subsequently became actively involved in several nonprofits, including CASA of NH.  She has been a tireless committee volunteer since then, assisting in all areas of event planning including securing sponsorship support and providing a number of introductions to new funders and businesses. Thanks in large part to Doreen’s efforts and her passion for CASA, CASA Cares has continued to grow every year in attendance and proceeds.

Doreen is deeply committed to giving back to the community. She provides her time and talent to several boards, including the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, Adult Learning Center and the YMCA of Greater Nashua, and feels an intrinsic responsibility to lend her support to various causes and encourages others to do so as well.

“There are so many organizations that need help,” Doreen says. “Everyone needs to pick one organization — it only takes a few hours of time to make a lasting impact on an organization.”

Doreen choose to help CASA of NH because she believes strongly in its mission. It wasn’t until she began volunteering that she really came to understand the scope of CASA’s ability to change lives.

“It is important for us to advocate for children that don’t have a voice and to ensure the safety of future generations of children,” Doreen says.

She credits Enterprise Bank, and its community-focused mission, with being a large supporter of her non-profit work, noting, “It is part of their core value to invest in the community.  Everyone at the bank is encouraged to engage in volunteer work — from the tellers to the managers.”

For example, Enterprise organizes nonprofit collaborative seminars, women’s networking events, and extensive charity drives and walks. Its “Belle of the Ball” initiative organizes cleaning and distribution of gently worn prom dresses to more than 800 girls, and its annual scarf drive provides donated handmade or purchased scarves to United Way shelters. The bank has also sponsored numerous events, including CASA Cares.

Doreen recognizes that not everyone has the time to serve as a volunteer advocate or on a committee, but she says that is OK.

“It is important for people to know that even if they can make a small donation, it could go a long way, especially with the opioid crisis,” Doreen says. “We could help so many more kids. We think nothing of buying a cup of coffee. If we gave that up for a week and donated to a nonprofit, it could make a big difference.”

Donor Spotlight: Nancy Phillips, Lifelong Champion for Children

Nancy Phillips’ generosity of spirit is a true gift to CASA of New Hampshire and the children we serve. For many years, in addition to leading a very successful business in the auto industry, Nancy has provided both volunteer and financial support to mission-critical children’s organizations like CASA.

Reading a newspaper article about CASA in the early 90s, Nancy was shocked to learn about the need for such an organization, and she was moved to become a volunteer advocate. Nancy’s experience as a volunteer was life-changing as she dedicated her time advocating for the future of a 4-year-old boy who had been severely abused and then abandoned. Through her efforts, the child’s horror ended with adoption into a wonderful family. The case lasted a lengthy 4 years, but, as Nancy notes, it taught her so much about the need for CASA.

“I will never forget it,” she said.

Nancy is proud of the fact that the little boy who struggled so much early in life is now a high-ranking marine. Her time as a volunteer and the importance of CASA continued to resonate deeply after the end of the case. She became a CASA board member and continued to volunteer tirelessly for numerous child-focused nonprofits.

Nancy’s energy is boundless. She balances a very successful career with her love for helping children. She is the founder and principal of Nancy Phillips Associates, Inc., brokering the sale of franchised automobile dealerships throughout the Northeast.  She and her husband Elliot Berkowitz also own a real estate development company on the Seacoast, and together they have a daughter Alexandra.

Nancy’s concern for the welfare of children is long-standing. As Nancy notes, she grew up in a typical middle-class family in Goffstown “without a lot of trauma” and became involved in working with at-risk children while a student at the University of New Hampshire. At UNH she served as an Upward Bound Counselor alongside troubled youth, and became entrenched in various social issues. Throughout college Nancy worked in the Department of Resource Economics researching poverty in New Hampshire and as a tutor in under-served communities before taking her first job for the Dept of Welfare in Oregon. The experience was impactful as Nancy struggled with the dichotomy between their situation and her own experiences and upbringing.

After returning to New Hampshire and starting her own business in the auto industry, Nancy joined forces with Paul Holloway to found the New Hampshire Automobile Dealer Association’s Charitable Foundation. The Foundation funded and administered a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children called Kids and Company: Together for Safety in over half of all public and private elementary schools in the state. The program trained hundreds of teachers, social workers and police officers annually and ran for 8 years.

In 2005, she and her husband orchestrated the construction of the first phase of a summer camp in New Hampshire for The Circle Program for at-risk girls between the ages of 9 and 13.

More recently, Nancy launched her own campaign to bring awareness to the crisis of youth homelessness in our state by producing the independent documentary film 404 Not Found with the help and support of Waypoint (formerly Child and Family Services).  The film depicts the extraordinarily difficult lives of young people ages 12 to 24 who couch surf, live in the woods and in cars with no place to call home and no one to care for them. The film was selected as a feature in film festivals in New England and continues to be screened to groups working towards addressing the needs of our homeless youth.   She also founded  EXETER AREA SCHOLARSHIPS  The Different Fund to provide funding for students from difficult home situations who wish to attend any form of secondary schooling or training.

In addition to her volunteer work, Nancy is a very generous contributor to CASA. In 2016, she founded Cars for CASA, a partnership of automobile industry colleagues who have financially supported CASA’s largest fundraising event, CASA Cares. Cars for CASA includes Robert MacDonald of Bernstein Shur Sawyer & Nelson, Sheree Kaplan of Milford Subaru, Dennis Gaudet of AutoServ and Dan Enxing of Volvo Cars of Exeter.  The group has donated thousands of dollars to CASA over the last several years, and generated significant awareness for CASA’s mission. Last year, Cars for CASA became Cars for Causes as Nancy and her team participated in the Child and Family Services Sleep OUT for which they were deemed the second most successful fundraisers.

This May, Cars for CASA is once again a sponsor for CASA Cares and the group has generously donated it’s tickets to Volunteer Advocates who have served CASA for 20 or more years.

CASA is deeply grateful to Nancy and Cars for CASA for their commitment to the children of New Hampshire.

“CASA means so much to me. CASA has changed the lives of all of the children it serves and has literally saved the lives of many.  Without CASA we would have far more sadness, untapped human potential, tragedy and loss in our state than we do today.  As we face more and more difficult family situations, CASA must have more volunteers to enter into one on one relationships with the many abused and neglected children and youth who desperately need help them and who, in return, will give back the greatest gift of all – the opportunity to make better the trajectory of that child’s life.”

Steve Friedman: CASA’s Energizing Committee Member, Friend and Donor!

Steve Friedman is a passionate, committed volunteer and friend to CASA. Between serving on the Snowfest committee, providing marketing opportunities through his position at The River 92.5 radio station, and networking on behalf of CASA near and far, he is truly a gift to the organization.

Steve’s energy and dedication are quickly apparent. He readily engages others in CASA’s work and provides community connections to help promote the organization’s mission. He understands the importance of our volunteer advocates’ service throughout the state, and knows that their work is critical because “It is potentially life-changing.”

“Without a CASA to represent a child’s best interests and ensure their safety and security, many of these at-risk children could face tragic outcomes,” Steve says, noting that through CASA’s involvement, “they are given a second chance. What could be more important than that?”

Steve was introduced to CASA several years ago through his work as Senior Account Executive at The River radio station. The station launched a partnership with CASA through their media sponsorship of Snowfest, CASA’s annual volunteer recognition event at Loon Mountain, and as Steve notes, “What a great partnership it has become!”

Both Steve and The River radio station have been very generous donors to CASA, supporting Snowfest and CASA Cares, CASA’s largest fundraising event. The River promotes active outreach and engagement in the communities, and they are committed to making a difference through their involvement. They continue to donate to a variety of causes, including Families in Transition, Child and Family Services and the Food Bank.

“I am so proud of our radio station,” Steve says. “We are locally owned and operated. Our owner has always been very supportive during my 18 year tenure there, allowing me and our station to help local charities like CASA by encouraging staff volunteerism, through airing PSAs, highlighting and posting events on our website, sending street teams to support events like Snowfest, and donating auction items to help raise funds.”

It also provides CASA with a non-profit rate to air ads recruiting CASA volunteers, and Steve has assisted the organization with the production of radio ads to help spread the message about our mission.

In addition to his volunteer work, Steve and his family have been generous donors to CASA, a trait he learned from his own family growing up, which he now shares with his 28-year old daughter.

“We always believed in guiding positive behaviors when she was young so she would become a contributing member of the community as an adult.”

His father had a list of charities which he supported, he said. Their family foundation, The Leopold and Ruth Friedman Foundation, managed by Steve’s brother who is an attorney, was originally started by Steve’s uncle, an original founder of Lowe’s Cinemas.

“He wanted to set an example for the family and make sure we were doing our part in donating to worthy organizations like CASA,” Steve says. “We want to inspire generations to come by providing the tools needed to overcome obstacles.”

Right now, those obstacles include the enduring opioid epidemic, which further propels Steve’s passion for CASA’s mission.

“The need for CASAs has never been greater. Opioid addiction is rampant and kids in households dealing with drug/alcohol addiction are at great risk. More volunteers are needed to stem the tide of this current epidemic that NH faces,” Steve says.

We are deeply grateful for volunteers and donors like Steve who help us address these critical issues.

Donor Spotlight: Jaye and Charlie Goodwin

Charlie and Jaye Goodwin have been part of CASA’s community of friends and supporters for more than 15 years. Their commitment to transforming the lives of vulnerable children stems from an empathic understanding that there are those who have not benefitted from the same support system they experienced as children. They also recognize the importance of providing hope for a successful future for NH’s children. Charlie notes, “These children have lived difficult lives. We are ensuring there is enough interest and support to give them much more of a chance than they would have otherwise.”

For many years, members of the Goodwin family have served as esteemed community and business leaders in Greater Manchester. Before his retirement in 2005, Charlie operated his family’s long-standing funeral home, Goodwin Funeral Home, carrying forward its legacy of personal and professional philanthropy and volunteer support. Charlie became more familiar with CASA during his tenure in funeral service when he served a family who had adopted a CASA child who later passed away. This experience was, according to Charlie, “moving and informative.”

“They were an incredible, supportive family; CASA advocates who had adopted three children,” he says.

His introduction to CASA also reinforced the thought that not everyone had the same access to a loving, stable home life.

“Both Jaye and I had safe and secure upbringings and we were also able to provide that same environment for our children,” Charlie says.

Charlie and Jaye’s parents were both involved in a variety of causes. According to Charlie, his own parents, Dorothy and David Goodwin, “Instilled in my sisters and I that our business relied on the community and we should be supportive of that community.”

In 2005, when he retired, CASA CEO and President Marty Sink approached Charlie about serving on the board. The timing was right, says Charlie and he served on the board for eight years and continues to serve on the Finance Committee.

Charlie and Jaye understand the value and impact that CASA volunteer advocates provide during these challenging times, and their generosity speaks to their passion.

“We care about the community,” Charlie says. “We care about providing a good future for children. It’s what everyone wants. We are deeply concerned about the impact of the opioid crisis on the children of New Hampshire.”

He and Jaye also know that many of the children served by our volunteer advocates may not have role models in their lives, and they appreciate the consistent example that CASA volunteer advocates set.

The Goodwins have great regard for CASA’s mission and the depth of support services the organization provides, Charlie says, noting that CASA meets a unique need unlike any other non-profit in New Hampshire.

“When we see a child being abused, everyone thinks someone should do something — and CASA does do something. CASA has so many success stories. We have saved hundreds of children from horrible situations,” Charlie says.

The Gift of Giving: Gloria Proulx and GYK Antler

 

Throughout her 33-year career at GYK Antler, Gloria Proulx has been dedicated to making a difference in her career and in the community. She has deftly balanced her professional life while also raising a family and volunteering for numerous causes. Throughout her career at GYK, she has worked as a production manager in various vertical markets including finance, healthcare, high tech, retail, education and tourism, and now serves as Culture and Operations Manager. As a key volunteer on the CASA Cares committee, Gloria collaborates with top notch GYK designer JoAnn Trahan to produce printed materials, from the invitation and signage to the evening’s beautiful program, for CASA’s largest fundraising event, CASA Cares.

Gloria is truly a gift to CASA of New Hampshire. She first learned about CASA 10 years ago, recalling when GYK’s creative director Elaine Krause provided design assistance for CASA’s 20th Anniversary celebration at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium.

“We pulled out all the stops and broke some rules in the process, but the end result was an inviting experience for CASA’s guests,” Gloria says.

The following spring, they were invited to attend the annual Fashion Show fundraiser, and Gloria was drawn into CASA’s dedicated team and mission — beginning her involvement on the program book committee with the support of GYK Antler. Today, Gloria lends her hand to committee-wide projects, serving as the program book chairman while assisting with event and printing logistics, ad sales, and wine donations.

Gloria’s commitment to giving back comes from her tremendous conviction that “we were put on this earth to serve.” She believes strongly in CASA’s mission.

“The CASA organization has a greater focus on the child – giving them a voice and reassurance in a complicated and sometimes long-enduring process,” Gloria says. “The fact that each child is assigned an advocate is even more admirable and critical in their well-being and safety.”

Gloria appreciates CASA’s unique ability to seek out passionate volunteers and train them to be effective advocates – something she feels is important to all non-profits.

“We all have passions and gifts that are just waiting to be put to good use – within or outside of our work environments,” Gloria says. “If more organizations were set up to identify and train willing community members to help execute their missions, the load would be lighter, more affordable, and more focused on the need.”

She also greatly respects CASA’s successful management of funds, noting the organization’s financial accountability and transparency.

In addition to her volunteer work with CASA, Gloria gives her time and passion to several other organizations. She is president of the Pinardville Lions Club; coordinator of the Children’s Lectionary Program at Ste. Marie Parish in Manchester, co-chairs the annual Easter Bunny Breakfast in her community and supports as many non-profit efforts as she is able – a favorite being “The Ginormous Climb” to benefit the Suffolk County Children’s Advocacy Center, with her daughter Halie, who just received her Master of Social Work from Boston College. Halie will begin her full-time career at the CAC in Boston – a choice that Gloria is extremely proud of.

CASA Cares programs

Gloria attributes her volunteer “bug” to both her dad who served as an active volunteer with various organizations throughout his life, and to her own experiences participating in community-engaging events when Halie was a toddler. She recalls “crashing the PTA’s board meeting before they even began recruiting 1st grade parents,” so she could get involved and help ensure those community traditions continued.

Gloria recently transitioned to a new position at GYK Antler as Culture and Operations Manager – a role that allows her to give back to her professional community and engage her colleagues in values critical to the mission of the company. GYK Antler President and CEO Travis York is deeply committed to retaining and supporting GYK employees, providing thoughtful opportunities for professional growth and community engagement. Travis encourages staff to become involved in any cause that inspires them.

“When CASA was brought to the forefront, Travis understood their need and our team’s passion for what CASA does and welcomed the opportunity to stay part of such a worthy organization,” Gloria says.

In fact, GYK Antler has supported numerous non-profit organizations over the years, more recently: Rock On Foundation, Special Olympics, Stay Work Play New Hampshire, NH Food Bank, CHaD, Manchester Historic Association, DCYF, NH Institute of Art, Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Salvation Army.

Both Gloria and GYK Antler continue to pay it forward through their philanthropic and service efforts to CASA.

“As much as CASA’s existence relies on great leadership, staff, and volunteer advocates, it is the broader community’s generosity, participation, awareness and prioritization of CASA’s unique mission that will help them continue to meet the need, especially with the current opioid crisis,” Gloria says. “I once heard someone say: ‘If you see it, you are responsible for it.’ That is the motto I try to I live by.”

 

Paying Back in Ways Beyond Imagination: Tom and Barb Sedoric

Tom and Barb Sedoric have been dear friends to CASA for decades. Their commitment to sharing CASA’s mission with others while providing thoughtful and generous financial support to CASA is truly a gift. Often referring to CASA volunteer advocates as “angels on earth,” Tom and Barb fully understand the importance of CASA’s impact on those children who are the innocent victims of substance abuse, poverty, homelessness and mental illness.

Tom first heard CASA-NH CEO and President Marty Sink speak during CASA’s early years while he was serving on the board of another nonprofit aligned with children and their needs. The critical need for the advocacy of neglected and abused children resonated with Tom. He knew “this need would never go away.”

Barb also became interested in CASA’s mission. Her early career path as an estates and trusts paralegal and her personal experience of divorce with two young children, Barb understood the complexities of the legal system.

“The words ‘best interest for the child’ always stuck in my head. I always wanted to do something in the legal realm to help children,” Barb said.

Thus, Barb became a CASA volunteer advocate for three years representing the voice of young children in court cases and found the work “very hard and rewarding, but very important.”

Philanthropy and service are ingrained in Tom and Barb’s DNA. Both of their parents were very active volunteers and supporters in their communities in Beloit, WI, and Rochester, NY. With respect to his father, Tom remarked that “there wasn’t a piece of the community that he didn’t touch—from serving on the YMCA board to volunteering for the community fund.”  The same is true of Barb’s two parents, Bruce and Nancy Bates.

Both Barb and Tom feel blessed and fortunate to be able to give back to the community, both personally and professionally. As a nationally recognized fiduciary  at The Sedoric Group in Portsmouth, Tom takes great care and pleasure in helping people with their charitable wishes and planning. Barb turned her training and expertise as an estates and trusts professional, together with her personal experiences, to found LastingMatters.com. The LastingMatters Organizer is a resource, guide and practical planning tool to assist all adults with the process of planning ahead for incapacity and death.

Barb and Tom believe deeply in CASA’s “competence, efficiency and advocacy.”

“We continue to be impressed with the service they provide and how they provide it,” Tom says, adding they will never forget a family court judge stating openly that, after doing the math, he “believes CASA saves the taxpayers millions of dollars annually due to their volunteer-driven business model and efficiency.” Tom and Barb say they recognize CASA provides services in an incredibly efficient and caring manner in a legal system that is already strained.

With the growing implications of the opioid crisis on families and children, the impact of this epidemic on CASA’s resources has been significant. Without CASA’s volunteer advocates, there would not be enough people to speak on behalf of victimized children.  Barb knows how critical this advocacy is.

“I tell people all the time, if you are retired or have free time, volunteering as a CASA  is something you can do to make a significant difference in the lives of children,” Barb says.

Barb also suggests the importance of spreading the word regarding CASA’s mission by recruiting others to support CASA financially and by hosting an event to share CASA’s mission with others.

“Giving back to our community pays us back in ways beyond imagination,” Tom says.

We are deeply grateful to all our “angels on earth”— from donors like Tom and Barb, and all our donors, to you and your support! THANK YOU!

 

The Sedoric Group of Steward Partners – 29 Maplewood Ave. Suite C, Portsmouth, NH 03870 603 427 8870. Steward Partners Global Advisory, LLC and The Sedoric Group maintain a separate professional business relationship with, and our professionals offer securities through, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Steward Partners Investment Advisory, LLC. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not offer opinions or services of CASA.

Setting an Example for NH Business Leaders

“Joining forces with CASA is a company-wide decision—because when we ask our employees which organizations we should work with, CASA is always number one. We appreciate the constant efforts their team puts in, and we know it is for the kids—and it makes us all a little more humble. We at CruCon believe children are one of our most valuable resources. CASA is committed to serving 100% of the children who need their advocacy, and we are just as committed to ensuring their fundraising continues to grow. Our goal is to bring more awareness of this organization to the surrounding communities, and to show all children that they are never forgotten, their words do matter, and they are never alone.”

We are deeply grateful to Sandy Cleary and her team at CruCon Cruise Outlet for their extraordinary generosity to CASA. In the past four years, CruCon has donated more than $150,000 to support our mission to protect New Hampshire’s most vulnerable children. Last year, our annual CASA Cares fundraising event was the most successful ever, due in large part to CruCon’s renewed commitment as the Presenting Sponsor, as well as their in-kind contributions and encouragement of other funders.

As CruCon’s founder, Sandy stands behind CASA and other organizations, many of which directly impact children, with the same unrelenting passion that she dedicates to her business. She launched CruCon in 1995 and the business has grown exponentially under her leadership, now generating $130 million in sales and serving more than 100,000 clients a year across North America. This tremendous success is the result of Sandy’s deep commitment to building authentic and lasting relationships with employees, affiliate business partners, cruise clients, and nonprofit and civic organizations. Her philanthropic and community involvement extends to numerous organizations in New Hampshire. As the Presenting Sponsor for the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, CruCon is a key supporter and promoter of an organization that now raises $4.5 million for local NH charities. She encourages her staff to “pay it forward,” often matching their donations and providing other incentives to give financially and volunteer.

CruCon has won a variety of awards as a result of its focus on forging strong partnerships and exceptional customer service. Sandy and the CruCon team have received such prestigious awards as the Celebrity Cruises’ Chairman’s Award—the cruise line’s highest honor—Vacation.com’s Chairman’s Award, Royal Caribbean Cruise’s Chairman’s Award, and Norwegian Cruise Line President’s Club Elite Agency of the Year. Sandy herself won the 2017 Business Leader of the Year Award and the 2014 Outstanding Women in Business Awards (along with our own Marty Sink!) by NH Business Review.

We are tremendously proud and deeply honored to count Sandy Cleary and CruCon Cruise Outlet among our committed funders.