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
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
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.