On Wednesday, April 13, U.S. Engineering Company Holdings CEO Tyler and wife Leigh Nottberg served as Honorary Chairs of Kansas City’s largest fundraising breakfast, the Light of Hope benefit for Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). In addition to the Nottbergs’ personal involvement, U.S. Engineering was the presenting sponsor of the event, which drew hundreds to the Sheraton Crown Center.
At the event Tyler revealed renderings of CASA’s new building, which is under construction and will double the size of its current space, “so that CASA staff and volunteers will have a more comfortable and more professional environment for serving children and families.” The nonprofit had outgrown its space, limiting its ability to serve more children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Tyler and Leigh are also Honorary Chairs of CASA’s Space to Thrive campaign, which is helping fund this new facility.
In his remarks to attendees, Tyler noted that even more important than the building itself is the work that will go on inside it and the people who will inhabit it: “The new space will be accessible, child-friendly, warm, and welcoming. It will meet the needs of those we serve. CASA volunteers and staff will be able to meet with kids and families in a calming space before or after court hearings, very few of which are without stress. Advocates can get snacks, toiletries, or hygiene items for their CASA kids from the new Volunteer Resource Library. Volunteers can participate in training in a state-of-the-art conference room. Older kids can use the computer workstations, laundry, and shower facilities that will be set up just for them.”
Tyler and Leigh were introduced to Jackson County CASA’s important work—advocating for children removed from their homes for their safety—by U.S. Engineering’s Chief People Officer, Rebecca David. A long-time supporter of Jackson County CASA and former member of its Board of Directors, Rebecca began her career as a social worker. Reflecting on her involvement with CASA, Rebecca said, “We all have causes that ignite our personal passions and commitments, things that pull our heart strings. For me, my passion has always been to support our communities’ most vulnerable humans: abused and neglected children.” She went on to extend gratitude to the Nottbergs and U.S. Engineering team members who volunteered and attended the Light of Hope event: “Tyler and Leigh, thank you so much! To the many team members who attended the Light of Hope breakfast, and especially those who also volunteered at the event – Thank you! I am grateful and proud of our organization and our people!”
Jackson County CASA is already one of the nation’s largest CASA programs. This year, Jackson County CASA’s volunteers will help 1,250 children navigate the foster care and court system. Sadly, that’s only about half the children under court protection in Jackson County.
Judges appoint CASA volunteers to the cases where they’re most needed. CASA volunteers—with on-going support of the nonprofit’s staff—work to provide critical information to judges, helping them make the best possible decisions regarding where the children should live and what medical, therapeutic, and educational services they need. Children with a CASA volunteer are far less likely to be re-abused, far more likely to find a safe permanent home, typically spend less time in foster care, have fewer changes in placements and do better in school.
While each case is different, a CASA volunteer usually spends about 10 flexible hours a month meeting with the child, speaking with others involved, and attending meetings or court hearings. More volunteers are always needed, and they don’t need special skills or education—just a heart for helping children, a background check, and training.
Wrapping up his remarks to Light of Hope attendees, Tyler issued a call to action: “Children will ALWAYS need CASA. Abuse and neglect won’t disappear because we can’t just wish it away. So this morning is about making sure we face that reality head on and do something about it. Together. CASA volunteers fight with every last bit of energy to break generational cycles and ensure kids get to do what they do best, which is to be healthy, happy kids. We can all help, and we need to keep fighting.”
Help U.S. Engineering support this critical service organization by volunteering or donating to CASA. Learn more at www.jacksoncountycasa-mo.org.