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Celia was Destined to a Childhood in Foster Care until She Met Her CASA Volunteer

Celia was only 9-years-old and living in her fifth home when she met her CASA volunteer Wrenn Chais. Faced with a life of uncertainty, it appeared Celia would spend the remainder of her childhood in foster care and age out of the system at 18. Celia had been labeled unadoptable in her case file and there were no plans to find a permanent home for her.

As an infant, Celia was removed from her mother's care due to substance abuse and gang related activity. She was placed with a guardian until she was 8-years-old when she was again removed due to abuse.

At that time, her father had been released from prison and working at a Homeboy Industries restaurant - a nonprofit that assists former gang members and previously incarcerated men and women with programs such as job training. Celia and her father were reunited and he gained custody of her. After living with her father for several months, they were both involved in a car accident that killed him. Celia was able to climb out of the vehicle and walked for several miles in the dark to seek help.

After her father's death, there were no family members left to care for Celia so she was placed in a foster home. CASA volunteer Wrenn was then assigned to her case. While reviewing her file, Wrenn discovered that after the accident, doctors were concerned that Celia had a hereditary abnormal bone condition that, without surgery, would affect her as an adult.

No one had been making sure that Celia attended follow-up appointments that doctors recommended. With the help of Celia's attorney, Wrenn quickly obtained a court order for her to be examined by an orthopedist. It turned out she did have the condition so Wrenn also obtained a court order for the surgery, which went very well.

When Celia expressed interest in going to her father's former place of employment so she could see some of his friends, Wrenn was weary. She didn't want Celia to be disappointed if no one recognized her. However, Wrenn was more concerned that Celia didn't have any other adult connections in her life so she took her.

At Homeboy Diner located inside City Hall, Celia reconnected with some of her father's former co-workers who were overjoyed to see her. She also received letters, pictures and other artifacts that belonged to her father.

During this time, Wrenn began to question why Celia was labeled unadoptable, so she advocated to have a court assign an adoption social worker. Not wanting to lose any more time finding a home for Celia, Wrenn did her own research and discovered a program called Kidsave that hosts events focused on the adoption of children over the age of 8.

It was at a Kidsave event where Celia met Trish and Andy, who both made a connection with her. After several get-togethers, Celia was placed in Trish and Andy's home. In December 2017, Trish and Andy formally adopted Celia in a touching ceremony attended by loved ones, including many of her father's friends.

A Message from Our Chief Executive Officer

I hope you are having an amazing 2018 so far! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your past support. The success of CASA of Los Angeles is built on the efforts of people like yourself who share one common belief: that CASA/LA can make a difference for the most vulnerable children in LA County by helping them to thrive in a safe, loving and permanent home.

You have made THAT difference and you can read more about your impact in our Fiscal Year 2017 Impact Report and some stories of success available on our website at www.casala.org/publications.

It is because of you that we can share these stories. It is because of you that we are able to hold three concurrent volunteer trainings in one month (something we have never been able to do before)! And it is because of you that we can continue our path to serving more children in LA County's child welfare system.

Wende Nichols-Julien
Chief Executive Officer

Glamour Gowns and Suit Up

The Glamour Gowns and Suit Up (GGSU) event provides complimentary, brand new formal attire and accessories to young women and men, age 15+, in the Los Angeles County foster care system. The event is produced each year by the GGSU committee in conjunction with CASA/LA. Thus far, GGSU has provided more than 7,000 dresses and suits to young women and men who may not have otherwise been able to receive them. Sponsors of GGSU include Chinese Laundry, Masquerade Formal Wear, Gianni Inc Menswear, Paul Mitchell, Friar Tux Shop, OPI, SHARE Inc. and Jenette Bras. Foster youth and volunteers must register to participate. Registration will open in March. For more information, please visit www.casala.org/ggsu

If you would like to become a sponsor, please contact Dan Hanley at dhanley@casala.org or 323.859.2888 x6326.

Pictured (l-r) CASA volunteer Wrenn Chais; Kidsave Lauren Gordon; Trish, Celia and Andy

Upcoming Events

February 1 - 28, 2018
Donut Friend

5107 York Boulevard, Los Angeles
For the entire month of February, Donut Friend, located in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles, is donating 50% of proceeds from the sale of their delicious Compassion Fruit donut to CASA!

April 18, 2018
An Evening to Foster Dreams

Beverly Hilton Hotel

Join as we honor Kathy Hilton, philanthropist and CASA Ambassador, and Judy Beckmen, CASA volunteer and philanthropist, for their important work with children in foster care. With special guest, actor and comedian Al Madrigal. For more information, please visit www.casala.org/gala.

May 4, 2018
Help Us Hold Their Hands Antelope Valley Benefit

Hellenic Center

A special evening to support our advocacy work in the Antelope Valley. For more information, please visit www.casala.org/avbenefit.

September 23, 2018
Justice Jog 5K and 10K Run/Walk

Century City

Run, walk or jog in support of children in LA County's dependency system at this fun family event in Century City! For more information, please visit www.casala.org/justicejog.

Support CASA of Los Angeles When You Do Your Valentine's Day Shopping on Amazon

When you do your online shopping at AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to CASA of Los Angeles. It's the same Amazon: the same products, the same prices, and the same service, so why not? Click here to get started.

Click here to make a donation online or contact Dan Hanley, CASA of Los Angeles' Chief Development Officer, at 323.859.2888 ext. 6326 or dhanley@casala.org.

get involved
Calling all volunteers! The first step in becoming a CASA volunteer is attending an information session.
Sessions are held throughout LA County. Register online at www.casala.org/volunteer.

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To report child abuse, neglect or abandonment contact the Los Angeles County Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-540-4000.

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