Category Archives: Newsletter | February 2017

Light of Hope 2016

Another year has passed and another AMAZING Light of Hope has come and gone. On November 17, 2016, more than 1,000 CASA supporters gathered for breakfast and lunch to learn, to be inspired, and to become a part of the movement. Both events, presented by General Mills, raised more than $256,000 and recruited 120 prospective volunteers for CASA of Northwest Arkansas.

Who is to thank?

Our sponsors! The full list which can be found here includes our presenting sponsor, General Mills, along with our benefactor sponsors, The Clorox Company, Kimberly-Clark, Mitchell Williams, Sam’s Club, Tyson, and U.S. Nutrition, and our advocate sponsors, Mercy, Rockfish, and Truity Credit Union.

Our table captains!  One hundred and five caring and compassionate individuals stepped up to invite their colleagues and friends to join us for an inspirational day.

Our speakers!  We were honored to have a remarkable line-up for speakers this year. Our breakfast featured keynote speaker Judith McKenna (Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S.) while lunch featured Scott Rouse (Chief Customer Officer, Tyson Foods, Inc.). Both events were kicked off by amazing emcees, Marcus Osborne (Walmart) and Blake Woolsey (Mitchell Communications).

Our testimonial speaker, Lauren Waldon, brought a regal presence as Miss Arkansas International. And, no one can forget the smallest star of our show, Ben, whose video touched the hearts of so many.

Our advocates and children!  We would be no where without our advocates and the children we serve. This year, we also paid homage to the children we are unable to serve because we do not have enough advocates. The clothesline below displayed one shirt for every child still waiting for their CASA in Northwest Arkansas.

Lastly, we thank YOU, our guests and supporters, for taking time to remember our children and reflect on their experiences in foster care. We look forward to engaging you all again in November 2017.



If you would like to serve as a sponsor or table captain for this year’s event, please contact Colleen Smith, colleen@nwacasa.org. We would love for you to join us as we celebrate 20 years of advocacy in Northwest Arkansas.

20 Years of Impact

In 2017, CASA of Northwest Arkansas will celebrate 20 years of advocating for abused and neglected children in our region! Thank you to the thousands of volunteers and donors who have invested their time, resources, and passion in the children we serve.

Throughout the coming year, we will be gathering and sharing stories of our long history and extensive reach in this community. If you have such a story (as a former advocate, foster child or family, community partner, or donor) to add to our collection, please contact Colleen (colleen@nwacasa.org). We’d LOVE to hear from you.

Please stay tuned throughout the year as we reflect on our past success and look brightly toward the future.

Meeting the Need

In Northwest Arkansas alone, nearly 600 children are in care right now. Numbers like that can be somewhat intimidating and overwhelming. If we aren’t careful, statistics can scare us into apathy, thinking there is no way one person can make an impact on a problem so large.

CASA of Northwest Arkansas believes the best way to meet the needs of all foster children is to meet them one child at a time. And, lucky for us, our region is full of citizens who agree and refuse to let the statistics scare them. They realize, behind that big number, there are hundreds of individual children who need just one person to say yes.

In December 2016, 12 new advocates did just that. Last week, an additional 22 advocates joined them. Together, these newly sworn 34 advocates have the potential of serving at least 75 children this year!

Are you willing to join these special individuals? Our greatest need is advocates who are willing to serve Washington or Carroll counties. We’re also are seeking more male and/or bilingual (Spanish) advocates for all counties. Lastly, we have a long list of teenagers needing a CASA advocate/mentor. CASA will host six additional advocate trainings between now and June 30. Contact Arbor (arbor@nwacasa.org) for more information on how to become an advocate or to refer a friend.

In closing, please remember. These children don’t need someone to save the world, they just want someone willing to step into their world.


Granting Christmas Wishes!

The holiday season kicked off in early December with the annual Area 1 Christmas Party graciously sponsored by Fast Lane Entertainment. A host of this event for the past few years, Fast Lane could not provide a more welcoming and festive environment! Foster children and their group homes and families, a total of 408 guests, were treated to pizza, ice cream, bowling, laser tag, rollercoasters and much more. Thanks to Unilever, not only did every child receive a stocking of goodies at the event, but every child also spent a few special moments with Santa and Mrs. Clause. What a treat for these deserving kids!


Fulfilling children’s wish lists is another job that CASA of Northwest Arkansas takes very seriously. With the help of more than 90 individuals and businesses, the community was able to fulfill 393 wish lists for foster children last year. That is simply amazing! Thank you, Northwest Arkansas, for making the needs of others a priority this holiday season.


If you wish you could have helped out, it’s not too late. There are only 306 days until next Christmas. Our Program Director Shelley Hart (shelley@nwacasa.org) will be happy to add your name to our list of elves this year!


A special thanks to the following businesses and organizations for sponsoring Christmas wish lists for 2016: General Mills, Cargill, Tyson, Spin Master Toys, Mitchell Williams, St. Joe’s, U of A Law School, Walmart, RR Solutions, Ozark Orthopedics, Century 21 Lyons & Associates, Clorox, Arvest, Coca-Cola, Bentonville High Interact Club, Modus Studio, Specialized Real Estate, NWA Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Chapter, New Heights church, Mattress Firm, Fayetteville Newcomers Club, and Allstate Insurance.

Volunteer Spotlight: Thad Crawford

A little over a year ago, Thad Crawford attended CASA of Northwest Arkansas’s Light of Hope breakfast. The timing couldn’t have been better. Having grown up in a loving Fort Smith family who always had an open door policy for those less fortunate, Thad knew he wanted to do something to help the children in foster care. With four children of their own at home, he and his wife had been considering opening their home as a foster family. But, after learning about CASA, Thad heard a different calling. A few months later, he was sworn in as a CASA advocate. And, we are a stronger program because of it.


Not every rookie wants a case with four children, but a large family didn’t scare this dad of four. In the year since taking his case, Thad has learned a lot – about the foster care system, the undue burden older children face when they must parent their parents and care for their siblings, the impact of drug abuse on families, and how strong children really are amid the most difficult of circumstances. Thad looks up to the oldest child in this case as she shows a maturity well beyond her years. “These kids are amazing people. They have gone through so much. What they have taught me has made me a better dad and husband,” Thad shared.


Balancing a full-time job and a family, you would think Thad sees time as his biggest challenge in serving as an advocate. But, he said that’s what surprised him the most. It doesn’t take a long time to build a relationship with a child in need. It takes compassion and commitment, yes, but this can be accomplished in frequent, short periods of time. What Thad sees as the hardest part of serving is staying objective, not just wanting to fight. He knows he has to put the children’s best interests ahead of his emotions. And, that hasn’t been easy. But, it’s worth it . . . to the kids and to him.