(September 14, 2010) San Diego, CA– Joan Waitt – philanthropist, mother of four, and champion of foster children – was given the first-ever Celestial Award by Voices for Children at their annual gala, Starry, Starry Night, on Friday, September 10, 2010. Waitt has hosted this annual event at her home for the past four years and it has continued to grow in popularity and charitable funding for Voices for Children. The award also honored her children for their support of Voices for Children.
Sharon M. Lawrence, the President/CEO of Voices for Children, said, “Joan and her children Hailey, Emily, Sophia and Max have had an enormous impact on our agency and the children we serve, and we are so grateful. We appreciate the Waitts’ generosity in hosting our premier annual fundraising event, Starry, Starry Night, but are also indebted to Joan for serving as the first co-chair of our new Community Advisory Council and for continuing to provide wise counsel and support in our efforts to address the critical needs of foster children in our community.” Waitt has a history of supporting women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse, and began doing so when she lived in Iowa. Since moving to San Diego, she has been involved with various nonprofit organizations and has been responsible for raising awareness of the problems and creating new sources of revenues.
The Celestial Award was given to Joan and her family to applaud the work they have done to help Voices for Children provide more court advocates called, CASAs, for foster children.
Voices for Children, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is a private, nonprofit organization devoted to helping abused, neglected and abandoned children who have been removed from their homes and placed under the protection of Juvenile Court. There are approximately 6,000 children in San Diego County who will go through the foster care system this year. Voices for Children recruits and trains Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), who are volunteers from the community. Upon completion of their training, CASAs are sworn in by the juvenile court and matched with a foster child. This year, there are over 600 volunteers working with the agency, and 1,105 children were served with a CASA while every child’s case file was reviewed and monitored. CASAs are given access to all aspects of the child’s life and, together with Voices for Children staff, are able to determine what is best for that child and to advocate for the child’s interests in court. They work to place each child into a safe, permanent home. CASA volunteers ensure every child they serve has a voice that can be heard-both inside and outside the court.
For more information, please call Kim Penny at 858-598 2222 or visit www.speakupnow.org.