posted June 24, 2010

CASA Presented Governor’s Service Award

The Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program at Hope College has been presented the "Outstanding Mentoring Program Award" in the 2010 Governor's Service Award program.

Coordinated by the Michigan Community Service Commission, the Governor's Service Awards are given annually to individuals, businesses, and organizations to acknowledge their commitment to serving their communities through volunteerism.

The award was presented Thursday, June 25, by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm at the Governor's Service Awards ceremony, "An Evening with the Stars," at the Gem Theatre in Detroit. The award presented to Fonda Green, executive director of the CASA program.

"Michigan's volunteers give of their time and talent without thought of praise or recognition," said Governor Granholm. "Volunteers are making a real difference in their communities. Recognizing them for their efforts is a simple way of thanking them for their commitment to service and honoring their accomplishments across the state."

The "Outstanding Mentoring Program Award" honors an extraordinary mentoring program or organization that provides high-quality mentoring with significant results for children in Michigan.

CASA, a community organization housed at Hope, provides academic and cultural enrichment for at-risk first- through fifth-grade students. The program, which runs year-round, is intended to improve the students' academic performance by providing the tools they need to succeed in school.

During the school year, the students meet after school twice per week in one-on-one sessions with volunteer tutors, most of whom are Hope students. During a six-week summer session, CASA runs five classes, each led by a certified teacher and assistant, four mornings a week. This year's summer session began on Monday, June 21, and features the theme "Science Explosion: Our Future Comes to Life."

The academic-year and summer programs serve Holland and West Ottawa students. A total of 150 elementary-age students participated in CASA during the 2009-10 year.

CASA was established in 1987 by Marge Rivera Bermann and Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) and originally housed at First United Methodist Church. CASA moved to Hope College in 1989.

The other finalists in the "Outstanding Mentoring Program Award" category are the Art of Leadership Foundation of Detroit; the Explore Mentor PLUS Program of Alma; The Henry Ford Youth Mentorship Program of Dearborn; and Lunch Buddies-Central Michigan University Volunteer Center of Mount Pleasant.