Over 290 community members registered for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley’s first ever virtual gala, A Chance to LIFT UP. Co-hosted by friend of Child Advocates, Guisselle Nuñez, and Child Advocates Board Chair, Cassio Conceicao, the gala took place the evening of Saturday, May 22, 2021. Child Advocates set out to accomplish three objectives with its virtual gala:
- for attendees to experience what foster children go through in Silicon Valley;
- to demonstrate the value of Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers and the impact they have in the life of a foster children;
- and to raise $200,000 to recruit, train and support more CASA Volunteers.
With help from its partner, the Red Ladder Theatre Company, Child Advocates shared first hand accounts of three different aged foster children: a teenager, a school aged child and a newborn. The reenactment of their experiences brought to life the frustration, trails and tribulations many foster children face.
Eight different CASA Volunteers, from all different ages and ethnicities, also participated in the event to share their experiences as a CASA Volunteer. Each one of them demonstrated the immense value of a CASA by highlighting the work they do as a mentor to the child, who advocates for them in the system and acts as their voice reporting directly to the Court.
The evening ended with awarding Project Linus – San Jose with the 2021 Spirit Award. Project Linus has been a longtime partner of Child Advocates, donating hundreds of blankets every year to ensure every foster child has a personal blanket they can call their own.
Although donations are still rolling in, Child Advocates is proud to report that the virtual gala has raised $162,000 thus far. This was only made possible by a generous match from the Quest Foundation, all of the auction and fundraiser participants and the generosity of honorary committee members, in-kind donors and the event sponsors, including but not limited to: CWTC, Cadence, Morgan Lewis, Destination: Home and Mike & Liz Bird.