News and Information from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association

Association News

Anthony Hamilton Raises Awareness of National CASA

Grammy Award–winning R&B recording artist Anthony Hamilton will serve as a new spokesman for National CASA. Hamilton will work alongside Judge Glenda Hatchett, who has been our spokesperson for the past seven years, to raise awareness of the organization and recruit volunteers. He will also represent volunteer advocacy at national child welfare conferences and events around the country to raise awareness of the disproportionate number of African American children in the foster care system. Hamilton has produced a 30-second volunteer recruitment radio PSA, which is available to state and local member programs via download from

“We are honored and excited that Anthony Hamilton will serve as one of our national spokespeople,” stated Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association. “His passion and dedication for children will go a long way to help us recruit much-needed African American male volunteers.”

Anthony Hamilton

Theta Starlight Walk Benefits CASA Program

On June 25, more than 700 members of Kappa Alpha Theta and their special guests took a nighttime walk to benefit the CASA Support Council of Pima County, AZ. The first-ever CASA Starlight Walk took place in conjunction with Theta’s biannual Grand Convention in Tucson.

Leading the walk was Robin McGraw—a strong supporter of National CASA, a Theta member and a goodwill ambassador for the Dr. Phil Foundation. “Phil and I do this for the kids,” McGraw told participants. “I am honored to be a part of Theta’s exemplary commitment to CASA and supporting kids everywhere who need a voice in court to obtain a safe home.”

Melissa Dunlap, community outreach specialist at CASA of Arizona, found the Starlight Walk to be a wonderful opportunity to experience the enthusiasm and commitment of Theta women. “Their collective passion about wanting to help children was inspiring,” Dunlap said. “While listening to former foster youth Christa Drake tell her story, the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. It was clear that the women of Theta were inspired and motivated to help make a difference for youth in foster care.”

Pima County CASA Program Manager Ramona Panas was moved to see the collective energy of Theta women joining together for the cause. “We were fortunate to benefit locally from the awareness this convention brought to the CASA program,” said Panas. “We look forward to having the Thetas back in Tucson for their 2012 convention.”

Since 1989, National CASA and its network of programs have been the official philanthropy of the Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity. Each year, college and alumnae members dedicate countless hours of volunteer service and raise nearly $500,000 in support of the mission of local CASA programs.

Ramona Panas, Robin McGraw, Melissa Dunlap and Michael Piraino
Left to right: Pima County CASA Program Manager Ramona Panas, Robin McGraw, CASA of Arizona Community Outreach Specialist Melissa Dunlap and National CASA CEO Michael Piraino

New Marketing and Awareness Materials Provided to Network

One of the primary roles of the National CASA Association is to increase awareness of the CASA cause. By conducting national media outreach and advertising campaigns, and providing customized resources to member programs, National CASA helps local CASA programs recruit volunteers and strengthen their image in the community.

In June, National CASA and its San Francisco–based agency, Amazon Advertising, provided the network with a new awareness campaign and related materials. Samples of two of the three customizable print ads, “Sammy” and “Hyla,” are shown below. Each ad uses background graphics to tell the child’s story. Additional pieces of the media toolkit include new statistic sheets, a key messages document, a media relations guide as well as online communications and social media guidelines. 

"Hyla" ad "Sammy" ad

CASA Can: CASA of Travis County Launches New Web Campaign

CASA of Travis County in Austin, TX, has launched a new web-based advertising campaign. CASA Can was developed by Razorfish, an interactive advertising agency. Online advertising space—a total of 72 million impressions—is being donated to CASA of Travis County and National CASA by Razorfish’s clients. Approximately 87% of the banner ads will appear on national blogs and websites primarily targeted to women, with content involving lifestyle topics and the charitable causes of celebrities.

CASA Can ads began appearing on websites on July 1. The campaign will run through December. Proceeds from ads appearing on Travis County–area websites will benefit the Austin program. Donations from ads appearing on websites outside of Travis County will go to National CASA, with a portion passing through to the Austin program, consistent with National CASA’s revenue-sharing protocol. This national partnership with network-wide benefit was initiated by CASA of Travis County.

Denise Conway, owner of Austin Sonic and a member of the CASA of Travis County Board of Directors for 18 years, helped bring this project to fruition. Conway joined the National CASA Board of Trustees in 2006. She had this to say about CASA Can: “As a trustee on the national board, I am thrilled to see this local project in the online space turn into a win-win for the entire CASA/GAL network.”

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