On Thursday, June 24, 2021, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley hosted a press conference at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose to announce a first of its kind community-wide partnership to support foster children and their Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers.
Eight local partners have agreed to offer free resources, programming and/or free admission to foster youth. These partners include:
- Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
- Happy Hollow Foundation
- FIRST 5 Santa Clara County
- Red Ladder Theatre Company
- San Jose Public Library
- YMCA Silicon Valley
- Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
- Jasper Ridge Farm
“This is not just a great opportunity for foster children and their CASAs, although it will be and they’ll have a lot of fun, it’s also the key to healing trauma,” said Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates. “We know through the research that children who experience adverse childhood experiences have trauma and suffer the challenges of toxic stress. Being able to go into enriched environments where they can learn, have fun and really explore, with that trusted relationship of a CASA, is the key to healing that toxic stress.”
Frederick J. Ferrer was joined by the following speakers to announce this community-wide partnership:
- Marilee Jennings, Executive Director, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
- San Jose City Councilmember Maya Esparza, District 7
- Amy Nguyen, Office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, District 2
- Annette Chastain, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley
Also in attendance were Child Advocates staff members and representatives from the eight local partners SHOWING UP for foster children:
- Jolene Smith, CEO, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County
- Amy Pizarro, Executive Director, Happy Hollow Foundation
- Karen Altree Piemme, Director, Red Ladder Theatre Company
- Araceli Delgado Ortiz, Early Education Services Manager, San Jose Public Library
- Lisa Giannotti, Early Education Department, San Jose Public Library
- Mary Hoshiko Haughey, Chief Operating Officer, YMCA Silicon Valley
- Lena Eyen, Community Impact and Policy Specialist, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
“We’re coming together as a community to support our children who need it the most,” said Councilmember Maya Esparza. “Our foster children, who are our children, they’re the community’s children, nearly 75% are children of color and they deserve experiences just like any other child. Now with the launch of these new partnerships, our foster youth are able to visit these treasured community spaces.”
Child Advocates, and its CASA Volunteers, are eager to engage their foster children and youth with all of these new resources, programs and memberships.
“There’s a critical need for adults who will show up for kids in foster care,” stated CASA Volunteer, Annette Chastain. “[Many of these children] have never ever experienced anything like this [museum]. I’m so looking forward to [visiting] here with them.”
As the Silicon Valley community continues to reopen, Child Advocates is working diligently to get the children they serve and their CASAs to access all of these great new enriching resources and memberships.
As an agency, we believe every foster child should be supported and inspired to live their best life. This is only made possible when our community SHOWS UP the way these partners are committed to doing so.
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