On Saturday November 2, I had the privilege of volunteering at one of Southern California’s largest auction benefits for CASA of Los Angeles: The 6th Annual Wine+Art silent auction.
All proceeds from ticket sales, sponsorships and the silent art auction went toward CASA/LA. CASA/LA is a chapter of the larger national CASA organization which organizes community volunteers to advocate for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. According to CASA/LA’s website, nowhere in the nation is the problem greater than in Los Angeles County where 30,000 children who have been abused or neglected are under the jurisdiction of the Dependency Court.
The way the system works, is that the child is paired with a highly trained CASA volunteer who acts as their advocate to navigate the complications of the legal system and provides the child support and compassion though their own personal challenges of everyday life.
CASA/LA volunteers are an essential part of shortening the amount of time that a child is in the “dependency system” (by achieving either re-unification or adoption) while assuring that the child’s needs are met on an individual level. Many children assigned to a CASA have learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and/or significant emotional and mental health problems which are challenging to work with. Each CASA volunteer is a warrior, acting as a mentor to these children who usually do not have the power to speak up for themselves.
Overall CASA makes an enormous impact on the community, especially in Los Angeles. In fact, Los Angeles was of the first communities to introduce the CASA program and currently one of the largest CASA programs in the country. The organization is affiliated with the California CASA Association and the National CASA Association of 949 community-based programs and over 76,000 volunteers serving 251,000 children nationwide.
This particular Wine+Art event featured an impressive list of artists who donated world class pieces- including an authentic work by Salvador Dali, a real Picasso print, and the most valuable art of all: paintings by the foster children themselves.
There was a delicious spread of food and drink from generous local vendors like Rao’s (their red sauce on meatballs was one of the best things my tastebuds have been blessed with in a long time) Cafe 86 (their ube cupcakes and truffles MELT IN YOUR MOUTH) and pours from local wine establishment The Blending Lab (they let you make your own wine!).
Conner and I had the specific job of acting as “wine pullers.” Essentially, our duty was to wander around the crowd and sell guests corks, with a number on them- which they would then exchange for either an alcoholic prize or a non-alcoholic prize which was labeled with the same number as the cork the purchased. It’s like a raffle- but everyone wins!
The night was a lot of fun, and it was a great experience to be able to contribute toward a cause that I care about: CASA of Los Angeles. To learn more about the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, and to get information on how to donate or become involved with the organization visit www.casala.org. Also, make sure to have next year’s Wine+Art event on your radar to attend! It’s an awe-inspiring evening of wine, food, and philanthropy.
Follow Metropolitan Molly updates by subscribing to my newsletter, website and on social media below:
Interested in nominating someone with a stellar story for the COVID Chronicles? Submit them, here.