Board Co-Chairs David Eby and Amy Coveno

John Zahr Memorial Golf Tournament Raised $105,000 for Endowment

On August 30, over 30 teams and sponsors gathered at the Manchester Country Club for the tenth and final John Zahr Memorial Golf Tournament. The 18-hole golf tournament benefitted CASA’s endowment fund in honor of John Zahr, President of Harvey Construction and longtime supporter of CASA.

In its final year, the tournament raised $105,000. Since its inception, it raised over $560,000, the net proceeds of which have been contributed to CASA’s endowment fund named in John’s memory. This year, the first, second, and third place winners, as well as the winner of the 50/50 raffle and the putting contest, donated their winnings back to the endowment fund, collectively donating $4,610 in prizes.

“My father was a committed supporter of CASA, and my family is so grateful for this tournament that has raised more than half a million dollars in his name over the last ten years,” his son, John Zahr, said in his remarks to tournament participants.

The tournament was created in 2011 in the year following John’s untimely death, when his friends and colleagues came together to establish this tournament as a way to give back to CASA, a charity John had supported for many years. Annually, a committee of his peers reached out to businesses and friends for sponsorships and players to hit the links in memory of their friend.

Thank you to all of our sponsors: Longchamps Electric, Miller Engineering & Testing Inc., Granite State Plumbing & Heating, Reliable Equipment, Redimix Companies, Academy Roofing, BK Systems, Charron LLC, Home of Lei LLC, JDS Flooring Associates, Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Harvey Construction Corp., Galaxy Glass & Aluminum Inc., Dividers Plus, Empire Sheet Metal, Pelcon Construction, St. Mary’s Bank, Stone River Architects, American Steel & Precast Erectors and Kevin & Debbie Duffy.

Screeshot of June Training

CASA Graduates 41 New Advocates

In April and June, CASA of NH held two more sessions of very successful virtual training. As it is in the in-person classroom, virtual training is interactive and collaborative. It requires large and small group participation, welcomes guest speakers, facilitates a virtual role play, includes drafting a sample court report, and provides all of the necessary preparation to start providing effective advocacy for children who’ve experienced abuse and neglect.

Virtual training is proving to be incredibly helpful in providing consistent training opportunities for interested volunteers throughout the state. While there are plans to resume in-person training in 2022, virtual training will remain in place as an effective tool for widespread outreach.

One of the training team’s favorite activities to do during in-person training was to have participants write an uplifting and positive message to their future CASA children. Now in virtual training, they have each participant go around the classroom one-by-one to say their messages. Check out the messages from the participants of our April training below.

Please help us welcome April graduates Jennifer, John, Suzanne, Robin, Sandy, Emily, Greg, Jennifer, Renee, Michelle, Maura, Meghan, Amy, Rachel, Christopher, Amber, Nan, Dolly, Amber, Beth, Erin, Jim and Crystal. We also had our summer intern from the legal department complete training.

The June class faced a weather-related challenge when they went to record their uplifting messages. A thunderstorm rolled through the state at that time, causing a few people experience some technical difficulties! While they were unable to record their messages, they did manage to get a group photo.

Screeshot of June Training

Please help us welcome Carol, Allison, Mandy, Diane, MaryLouise, Kali, Roberta, Sheila, Cheryl, Joy, David, Nancy, Cyndi, Kaleigh, Lillie, Sheila, Jennifer and Conrad. We also had three staff members complete training.

Training available this fall

CASA is accepting applicants for future virtual training sessions beginning Sept. 13 and Nov. 1. Interested volunteers can submit their applications today, or, join an upcoming virtual information session to learn more about the role of the CASA volunteer advocate and get specific questions answered. Register for one here.

CASA of NH Program Manager Shiloh Remillard, left, and CASA of NH President Marty Sink present CASA Volunteer Advocate Mark Linehan with the 2021 Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocacy Award.

CASA-NH Celebrates 32 Years, Welcomes 5 Board Members in June

CASA of NH Program Manager Shiloh Remillard, left, and CASA of NH President Marty Sink present CASA Volunteer Advocate Mark Linehan with the 2021 Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocacy Award.CASA of New Hampshire appointed five new board members and celebrated 32 years of advocacy on behalf of more than 10,000 during the month of June.

On June 17, CASA recognized and honored the work of hundreds of volunteer advocates over the past year, as well as the support it receives from a friends and community partners around the state.

During this year’s celebration, special recognition was given to 71 volunteers who reached milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20 and even 25 years of service that has made a significant impact on victimized children’s lives.  Three awards were also given to an advocate and two community members who been instrumental in supporting CASA and transforming the lives of children in New Hampshire.

Mark Linehan, of Glen, received the Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocacy Award. This honors the work of a CASA volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their advocacy work and made a tremendous impact in the lives of children. Linehan has advocated on behalf of 31 children from 12 families in his nine years as a CASA volunteer.

Lou Catano, of Strafford, received the John McDermott Champion of Children Award. This celebrates the work of one person whose tireless advocacy has influenced the lives of many. Catano served as the executive director of Webster House in Manchester for more than three decades.

Tom Boucher, of Bedford, received the Community Partner Award. This highlights CASA’s valuable community partners for their support, engagement and resources that they have contributed to furthering the mission of the organization. Boucher is the CEO-Owner of Great N.H. Restaurants, Inc. and a member of CASA’s Advisory Council.

Board comings and goings

At CASA’s June Board of Directors meeting, five new board members from around the state were appointed to their first terms. Those new members include: Michael Ambrogi, of North Hampton, senior technology fellow at Novocure Inc.; Karen Borgstrom, of Lyme, director of external affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock; Paul Chant, of Chocorua, a litigation attorney and director at Cooper Cargill Chant; Nancy Sampo, of Bow, president of Enviro-tote; and Tom Stevens of Manchester, who formerly served as a CASA volunteer.

Three additional board members, Judy Bergeron, Nick Giacoumakis and John Zahr, were recognized for their years of service as they stepped off of the board.

CASA of NH 32nd Annual Celebration

WATCH: CASA of NH’s 32nd Annual Celebration

We hope you were able to join us for last night’s live premiere of CASA of New Hampshire’s 32nd Annual Celebration. If you couldn’t join us, the replay of the video is available for viewing at your leisure.

Thank you to everyone who helped to recognize this year’s milestone-year advocates and our recipients of the Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocacy Award, the John McDermott Champion of Children Award and the Community Partner Award. The annual celebration also featured remarks from CASA CEO and President Marty Sink and Board co-chairs Amy Coveno and David Eby. It includes a tribute to the Hon. Bud Martin, a long-time family court judge who became a CASA for nearly 10 years in his retirement, and it closed with two amazing former CASA children who have overcome great obstacles in their youth, speaking about the importance of and the impact made by their CASA volunteers.

Gov. Sununu Proclaims April 22, 2021, CASA Appreciation Day in NH

For the second year, Gov. Chris Sununu has proclaimed April 22 as CASA Appreciation Day in New Hampshire.

In his proclamation, Sununu recognized the more than 600 current volunteer advocates working passionately to help ensure abused and neglected children in New Hampshire are safe, feel loved and have the opportunity to grow up in nurturing, permanent homes.

“Whereas CASA volunteers provide compassion and consistency to children, and use their time and resources to help children navigate through uncertain and difficult times; and whereas as it is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Volunteer Appreciation Week, it is fitting to recognize the advocacy efforts of CASA volunteers in protecting children across the Granite State,” the official proclamation from the Governor’s desk says.

Last year, CASA of New Hampshire’s volunteers advocated for more than 1,400 children who had suffered abuse or neglect by their parents or caregivers. CASA volunteers meet monthly with the children they are assigned to advocate for, they gather information from the child’s parents and other important adults in their lives and provide judges in New Hampshire’s family courts with recommendations for what they believe to be in the child’s best interests.

“This past year has presented extraordinary challenges, but the CASA advocates and the staff, they’ve stepped up and delivered for our kids time and time again,” Sununu said in a video message he prepared to share the proclamation with CASA volunteers and supporters. “No matter the situation, you’ve found ways to connect with Granite Staters and remain a constant presence in the lives of the children and the families that you serve.”

Gov. Sununu's CASA Appreciation Day Proclamation for 2021

Read the full proclamation.

When reported cases of child abuse and neglect plummeted at the beginning of the pandemic last year, CASA of New Hampshire quickly adapted its training and recruitment practices to continue to find new volunteers and prepare them to take cases in anticipation of a possible surge of cases. All information sessions, interviews and trainings were moved online and continue to be held that way today. Volunteers came up with creative ways to connect with their children virtually, or in distanced ways, and have remained flexible, adapting to changes and helping to ensure their children receive the support they need.

“We are constantly impressed by the flexibility and adaptability displayed by our volunteers, especially over the past 13 months,” CASA of NH CEO and President Marcia Sink said. “We are grateful to Gov. Sununu for continuing to recognize the important work CASA volunteers and staff do each day to help keep our children safe and give them the opportunity to thrive.”

screenshot of March Training class

CASA Graduates 33 New Advocates

BIA of NH & CASA of NH Announce Partnership

The Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire (BIA) and Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire (CASA) announced a new partnership to provide greater exposure for CASA and its important work to protect the best interests of abused and neglected children in New Hampshire’s family courts.

CASA of NH is a statewide nonprofit that recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers, known as guardians ad litem (GAL), to advocate in New Hampshire’s courts on behalf of abused and neglected children. A GAL’s role is to help a child or children caught up in the court system, through no fault of their own, grow up in safe, permanent homes with loving families to raise them. GALs are appointed by the courts, usually through CASA of NH, to recommend solutions that are “in the best interests of a child.”

BIA is New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce whose nonpartisan work primarily focuses on representing business interests at the State House with state legislators, the governor, and state regulators. BIA represents more than 400 leading employers in a variety of industries including manufacturing, technology, professional services, financial services, health care, hospitality and tourism, public utilities, higher education, insurance, and many others. Member firms employ 93,000 people throughout the state and contribute $4.5 billion annually to the state’s economy.

“Given our work ‘mixing it up’ in the state public policy arena, I’m pleased to share a softer, gentler side of BIA through our partnership with CASA of NH. Helping CASA recruit volunteer GALs and increase exposure for its important work allows BIA to play a modest role in addressing a critical, social need,” said BIA President Jim Roche, himself a CASA volunteer.

“We are grateful to have this unique opportunity to work with the BIA and the exposure it will provide CASA to such a tremendous network of businesses around the state,” said CASA of NH CEO & President Marty Sink. “We look forward to being able to share more about the amazing work of our CASA guardians ad litem and the ongoing need for more CASAs to support New Hampshire’s children.”

“For business leaders looking for meaningful volunteer work, who want to make a real and lasting difference in a child’s life, in ways that, frankly, the child may never know about or appreciate (but YOU will), this is it,“ said Roche. “Marty Sink and her team at CASA of NH will train you, provide resources, and guide you in this endeavor. You don’t need to be an attorney. Most of us aren’t. You just need genuine interest, a caring heart, some of your time, good communication skills, and a desire to make this corner of our world a better place,” Roche concluded.

For information about becoming a CASA of NH guardian ad litem or supporting CASA’s work, visit www.casanh.org.

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About the BIA:

The Business and Industry Association is New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce and leading business advocate. BIA represents more than 400 leading employers in a variety of industries including manufacturing, technology, professional services, financial services, health care, hospitality and tourism, public utilities, higher education, insurance, and many others. Member firms employ 93,000 people throughout the state and contribute $4.5 billion annually to the state’s economy. While proud of its many large members, 69% of BIA members have an annual payroll of $3 million or less. Through advocacy with state legislators and regulators, BIA works to promote a healthy climate for job creation and a strong New Hampshire economy. For more information about the BIA, visit BIAofNH.com

CASA’s Year of Accomplishments

Ring in the New Year with 10 Highlights from 2020!
In a year filled with challenges we never could have anticipated, join us as we look back on our incredible accomplishments of 2020. From advocates acclimating to an all-virtual world of advocacy to live-streamed fundraising events, this was a memorable year in many ways!

1. CASA’s Largest Training Class Ever


We kicked off the year netting nearly an application a day, and held our largest in-classroom training in January with 29 graduates from all over the state. It was so large, we split the class into two smaller groups.

2. Celebrating 20 Years of Snowfest


In February, we held our last in-person gathering at our 20th Annual Snowfest at Loon Mountain. Though this annual volunteer appreciation event will look a bit different in 2021, we cannot wait to see our volunteers and friends again in person!

3. Governor Sununu Declares CASA Appreciation Day


In April, in the midst of Child Abuse Prevention Month and Volunteer Appreciation Week, Gov. Chris Sununu dedicated a few minutes of his COVID-19 daily briefing to declare April 22 as CASA Appreciation Day.

4. First Virtual Information Session Launched


Also in April, we held our first-ever virtual information session. Since then, we’ve held 18 more, registering more than 700 people who have either attended or were sent a link to review the session on their own. We will continue to host three per month through 2021.

5. Virtual Training Takes Off With Dual Classes


In May we launched our first-ever virtual training class! Read the enthusiastic endorsement from one of our online training attendees and watch our new video that highlights this new virtual training opportunity, produced by Heartwood Media.
Since the beginning of 2020, we have had one in-person training class with 31 graduates and 8 virtual training classes with 149 virtual graduates!

6. New Hampshire Gives Day Success


On June 9, you helped make NH Gives Day our most successful day of giving ever. With the support of 164 amazing donors, we raised over $42,000 in a single day, landing us at #11 on the NH Gives leaderboard!

7. On Tap for CASA Thank You Event

Watch the Event

In September, we held a special thank you event at New England Tap House Grille’s outdoor biergarten with a live-streamed performance by the Rebel Collective in lieu of the On Tap for CASA team competition fundraising event. We appreciate all of our On Tap participants who had already raised more than $20,000 by the time the event was canceled. We’re looking forward to hosting On Tap for CASA when it is safe to gather again!

8. CASA Cares for the Community

Watch the Event

On September 25, we hosted our first virtual annual fundraiser, CASA Cares for the Community, streaming live to an audience of more than 300 on Facebook and YouTube! Through sponsorships, the appeal and a live and silent auction, CASA Cares raised more than $200,000 for New Hampshire’s abused and neglected children!

9. CASA’s 31st Annual Celebration

Watch the Event

Also in September, we hosted our our 31st annual celebration recognizing all of our active advocates, many of whom reached important milestones! Six celebrated 20-years of advocacy, seven celebrated 15-years, 17 celebrated 10-years, and 32 celebrated 5-years! This year’s event was a true celebration of incredible resilience through a difficult year.

10. Manchester’s Judge Carbon Named National Judge of the Year


During its annual conference, the National CASA/GAL Association for Children announced Manchester Circuit Court Judge The Hon. Susan B. Carbon as the recipient of this year’s Hon. David W. Soukup Judge of the Year award. “There is no award that means more than this for a family court judge,” she said in her remarks. “This is a gift and an honor I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Watch her acceptance of the award here.

11. Celebrating our Board of Directors!


A special thank you to our Board of Directors. These 10 accomplishments would not have been possible without their dedicated leadership!

Thank you to our staff, advocates, donors, and board members for believing in our mission and helping us to reach our goal, no matter what life is sending our way. We all send our heartfelt support to those who have faced difficult struggles in 2020. Regardless of what next year brings, our mission is to continue providing advocacy for abused and neglected children with the help of our advocates and friends like you.

See you next year!

Wrapping Up The Year With 45 New Advocates

In the final quarter of 2020, 45 trainees graduated virtually and are ready to take on their first case.

Adoption Day for Grayson

For the Sillanpaa family,  Sept. 23, was no ordinary day. It was adoption day for 6-year-old Grayson who made a grand arrival to the court house … in a dump truck! It was the truck enthusiast’s one wish for that day.

His mom, Airial Doubleday Sillanpaa says Grayson was not the first child they adopted, rather, he was the fourth from three families. As a long-time foster family, Airial said it’s kind of surprising, but they’ve had a CASA on the case for each of their foster children, and she says working with CASAs over the years has shown her the good in people.

“I consider them everyday angels,” Airial says. “They are just regular people, but they step in and they are able to advocate and speak for a child who is too young, or maybe just not ready or able.”

Airial says Grayson’s CASA Charlotte was a wonderful person to have in his life. Grayson called her Miss Charlotte, and Airial she would come to their house to see him, to play and to talk about his life. And even though he was little, Charlotte made it a point to make him feel comfortable about talking about things that were hard for him to think about. For instance, he mentioned he missed some of his toys at his house, and at that age, that’s hard, she says.

“(Having a CASA) really just gives them a platform,” Airial says.

And it provides an extra layer of support from someone really there to be neutral and objective, making sure the child’s needs are a priority, she says.  In the case of one of her other children, Airial says the CASA was an invaluable support. She was a “squeaky wheel” who helped get Airial’s medically fragile child the support needed. “I don’t know that that would have happened without our CASA,” Airial says.
While COVID changed a lot of the ways in which people connected this year, Airial says Charlotte was great about checking in via email and on the phone and phoning into meetings.

One of her favorite moments, she says, was in the final months of Grayson’s case, they held a Zoom meeting with DCYF, CASA and Waypoint under the kitchen table because Grayson had made it into a fort. And in that moment, it wasn’t about her squeezing under a table while Grayson met with his team, it was about what worked for him at that time.

“Everybody just rolled with the punches.”

Because of COVID-19, adoption day also looked a little different. Where it previously would have been a large celebration with the Sillanpaa family, Grayson’s team of caseworkers, CASA and others, this adoption came just after courts re-opened on a limited basis and they could have just 10 people in the room. Her family made up 8, the judge was 9, Airial says. And number 10? Grayson invited Charlotte to join them for the special day.