posted October 13, 1997

CASA Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program at Hope College will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with an emphasis on the people who have helped  make the program work, according to Connie Brummel, director of CASA.

          "We want to celebrate the service to the children
  of the community," Brummel said.  "And it's been provided by
  so many people through the years."
          "The support of the school counselors in referring
  the students to the program has just been tremendous, as has
  the consistency of the tutors--Hope College students, high
  school students and other members of the community," she
  said.
          More than 100 volunteers work with the program
  annually, most as tutors during CASA's afternoon sessions.
          CASA's 10th anniversary celebration will include
  an open house on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 20-21, while the
  program is in session on the Hope campus.  Brummel
  appreciates the timing, since CASA's records show that the
  program held its first class on October 20, 1987.
          CASA was established by Marge Rivera, and was
  originally administered by Latin Americans United for
  Progress (LAUP) and housed at First United Methodist Church.
  The program moved to the college in 1989.
          CASA runs year-round, providing substance abuse
  prevention, cultural awareness, academic and career
  experiences to at-risk first through fifth grade students.
  A total of 90 students from 10 Holland-area schools are
  participating during the current school year.
          The program is intended to improve the students'
  academic performance and help them develop healthy,
  productive lifestyles.  CASA's students meet after school
  twice per week for two hours per session throughout the
  school year, and in the mornings during a six-week summer
  session.
          In 1991, CASA was one of only eight programs
  nationwide honored as a 1991 Exemplary Program by the U.S.
  Department of Health and Human Services' Office for
  Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).  CASA received support
  from Governor John Engler through a Governor's Discretionary
  Fund grant in 1992.
          Brummel noted that such external assistance, like
  the volunteer tutors, makes a crucial difference in CASA's
  work.  Several local agencies and businesses, as well as
  individuals, have helped CASA through the years.  Local
  organizations currently supporting CASA's work include the
  Greater Holland United Way, the Community Development Block
  Grant program, the Community Foundation of the
  Holland/Zeeland Area, Holland Community Hospital and the
  Holland Junior Welfare League.
          CASA's anniversary celebration also includes a
  variety of activities intended to enhance the students'
  awareness of and appreciation for the arts.  The students
  recently studied the architecture of downtown Holland, and
  later during the year will explore area sculpture, learn
  about dance and attend a presentation by a representative of
  the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra.