February 1, 2017, St. Petersburg, FL – It takes vision and more than a little moxie to change the course of society. In 1977, Sr. Margaret Freeman did just that by founding what would become CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse), the official domestic violence center for southern Pinellas County, Florida. This year CASA proudly celebrates its 40th Anniversary as a leader in the movement to end domestic violence.
CASA has much to celebrate, indeed. Over the past four decades it has helped develop an entire infrastructure of support services and partnerships with allied agencies united to protect women, children and men from domestic violence. It is one of 42 certified domestic violence centers comprising the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and is a member of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
”We are all amazed at the organization CASA has blossomed into over the years,” said CASA’s Interim Executive Director Suzanne Horn. “To some, the problem of domestic violence can seem insurmountable. They read statistics showing 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men are domestic violence survivors and feel overwhelmed. But that is not what happens in our community. Instead, we treasure the victory of each person who escapes an abusive home and builds a successful life free from violence.”
CASA has grown from an 8-bed shelter in 1977 into an organization serving thousands of people each year in our new 100-bed domestic violence center, community center and children’s Peacemaker’s Program. Along with that incredible enhancement in services, however, comes an enormous increase in expenses the organization must cover from private donors.
CASA will celebrate its birthday at its annual “A Good Night’s Sleep” dessert luncheon on April 7, 2017, a fun event that will raise funds critically needed in order to continue operating all its programs and services. Event tickets, sponsorships and information are available at www.casa-stpete.org/AGoodNightsSleep.
To mark this special 40-year anniversary in the community, CASA has released an updated, commemorative logo to reflect its reinvention and growth, while preserving continuity with its long legacy:
CASA serves people in all stages of domestic violence, including those currently in a relationship with an abuser, those in the process of escaping the violence, and individuals who have attained a greater level of safety but are still dealing with trauma, legal battles, joint custody and other issues. Perhaps most famously, it operates the region’s 24-hour hotline and a 100-bed emergency domestic violence center that provides safe housing, support groups and a staffed resource center to help participants attaining economic independence and affordable housing.
CASA also works to end the generational cycle of violence by assisting the Pinellas County Child Protection Investigative Department and running the Peacemakers Violence Prevention Program in collaboration with RCS Pinellas. The Peacemakers program provides instructors and course materials in violence prevention, bullying and teen dating violence, at absolutely no cost to Pre-K, Elementary and Middle School classes.
CASA was founded by Sr. Margaret Freeman in 1977 as the “Free Clinic Spouse Abuse Shelter,” a service of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic providing emergency housing for up to 8 domestic violence survivors at a time. It soon became an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization, able to expand its services with financial support from a network of caring community organizations and members…
CASA asks you to stand up with it, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and all the advocates and agencies in your area saying “no more” to domestic violence. Your financial support is vital. Your volunteer support is crucial. Your empathy, caring and support are the lifeblood of our movement. Donations can be made online at www.casa-stpete.org/donate. Tickets to CASA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration & “A Good Night’s Sleep” Dessert Luncheon on Friday, April 7th are available at www.casa-stpete.org/AGoodNightsSleep.
To learn more about CASA’s programs and initiatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 727-895-4912. For assistance with domestic violence-related issues, please call CASA’s 24-hour hotlines: 727-895-4912 and TTY: 727-828-1269. To support CASA’s vision of a community without domestic violence please visit www.casa-stpete.org/donate.
ABOUT CASA (COMMUNITY ACTION STOPS ABUSE)
This year marks the 40th Anniversary for CASA, the official domestic violence center for southern Pinellas County. CASA operates the area’s 24-hour hotline and 100-bed emergency shelter, offers community support groups, provides courtroom advocacy (ex. support navigating the restraining order process), assists the Child Protective Investigative team and conducts community and corporate training. In addition, CASA’s Peacemakers teach anti-bullying and healthy relationship curriculum throughout the Pinellas County school system to end the generational cycle of violence.
CASA’s vision is a community without domestic violence so that home is a safe place. CASA’s mission is to raise our voices against violence through advocacy, empowerment and social change. To learn more visit www.casa-stpete.org, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/CASAStPete or contact us at email@example.com / 727-895-4912. For assistance with domestic violence-related issues, please call CASA’s 24-hour hotlines: 727-895-4912 and TTY: 727-828-1269.