“I’d like to invite you to join me at Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children Award Dinner on Thursday, November 15, at The Fairmont Dallas. We’ll be honoring The Meadows Foundation with the Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award for its commitment to children in Dallas County and throughout Texas. We’ll also take time to recognize and thank judges and child welfare leaders in the Dallas community and hear a message of inspiration from a well-known expert on youth.
“But the real reason we’ll gather for this dinner is the abused and neglected children living in our city.
“On an average day in Dallas, more than five children are removed from unsafe homes. Last year, 4,300 Dallas children lived in the protective care of the state. The scale of the problem is large, and the work Dallas CASA’s volunteers do is often quiet and unseen, happening in courtrooms, homes and schools across Dallas. But the impact of a volunteer on a child’s life is immense and Dallas CASA is working is to provide a caring and consistent adult for every child facing a frightening and complex child welfare system. The 2018 Champion of Children Award Dinner will help achieve this goal of a volunteer for every abused child who needs one.
“We are thrilled to be able to recognize the longtime dedication of The Meadows Foundation, which has made the education and welfare of children a key funding priority since the foundation’s inception in 1948. With an emphasis on early childhood education, health services for children and strengthening families, the foundation has supported a number of Dallas-area nonprofits as well as Texas CASA and other CASA programs across the state.
“Through 20 years of support for Dallas CASA, the foundation has directly impacted the lives of thousands of children who had one caring, constant adult by their sides as they navigated an overwhelmed children welfare system. From their first class of ten volunteers who served about 25 children in 1980, Dallas CASA has grown to more than 1,300 volunteers serving 3,118 children in 2017. As the need for trained volunteer advocates has grown as more children have been removed from their homes, Meadows Foundation has walked in lockstep with Dallas CASA, increasing its commitment to and support of the most vulnerable members of our community.
“My involvement with Dallas CASA began when I was serving as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. I joined CASA’s board in 2001, served as board president in 2005 and co-chaired Dallas CASA’s 30th anniversary campaign. After so many years of working closely with Dallas CASA, I know how unique and special this organization and its cadre of committed volunteers is. They have not just a love of children but the willingness to serve them deeply with not only care but with time, our most precious resource. Few nonprofits can so directly impact the lives of so many children.
“My wife, Regina Montoya, and I are co-chairing the event along with Bela and Chase Cooley and Jan Miller and Jeff Rich. Honorary chairs are Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, well-known in the Dallas community for their commitment to children in foster care and support of Dallas CASA. Guest speaker will be Josh Shipp, a former at-risk foster youth and now a recognized teen expert and youth advocate. He will bring his inspiring message that “every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.”