Casting Avenues for Student Transformation (C.A.S.T.) in collaboration with Youth First of the Washington County Family YMCA will be hosting the annual Giving From The Heart Afternoon Tea on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016. The event will begin at 2:00 pm at The Fellowship Hall at Southern Hills Church in Salem, IN.
This year’s Giving From The Heart Afternoon Tea will bring an added sense of culture to Washington County. The fundraising event, set to benefit Casting Avenues for Student Transformation (C.A.S.T.) and Youth First of the Washington County Family YMCA’s Youth Development programs, will host an art show highlighting youth talent in our community. Middle School Students from the county were invited to submit works of art surrounding the theme, “The Beauty Within.”
“We are so proud of all of the youth who participated in the art contest this year,” said Rosie Morehous, Youth First Director at the Washington County Family YMCA. “For C.A.S.T. and Youth First both, empowering our youth and encouraging their talents are top priorities. We viewed this showcase as a perfect means to accomplish that, all while creating a fun event for the community to benefit our youth programs.”
The Giving Front The Heart Tea, historically hosted by the Women’s Giving Circle of the Washington County Community Foundation, was originally created by the group as an opportunity to fund grants serving women and children in Washington County. More recently, the event began to focus closely on efforts to increase self-esteem and resiliency in our youth. As this prevalent community need took light, it was determined by the group that it would be a good time to pass the event planning over to C.A.S.T. and Youth First.
“We know how valuable the programming of both C.A.S.T. and Youth First are to help build strong and resilient youth,” said Lindsey Wade-Swift, Financial and Program Manager at the Washington County Community Foundation. “Supporting these two organizations has been very important for The Women’s Giving Circle. When we began discussing turning over the fundraiser to another group, it only made sense for it to be C.A.S.T. and Youth First.”
C.A.S.T. is an organization that serves Middle School Students in Washington County. Currently, C.A.S.T. offers summer enrichment opportunities for middle school students, and a tutoring and mentoring after school program to Salem students on Mondays and Wednesdays during the school year. Students are bussed from school to the program housed at Southern Hills Church, where they receive homework help from qualified volunteers. C.A.S.T. focuses on its mission of encouraging Washington County students to grow into contributing citizens with a lifelong passion for learning. C.A.S.T. also partners with the Washington County Family YMCA’s Youth First Program to have Rocks Life Skills Curriculum delivered to their participants.
Youth First builds assets in our Youth. Through the many athletic and enrichment programs geared towards youth at the Y, Youth First strives to aid our children in being prepared for bright futures by building their 40 Developmental Assets. The 40 Developmental Assets, an initiative of the prestigious Search Institute, are a set of skills, experiences, relationships, & behaviors that enable our youth to develop into successful and contributing adults.
With the intentions of building assets in Youth, The YMCA and it’s Youth First initiative strive to fill community voids in these areas to provide youth with the environments, mentors, skills sets, and personal commitment needed to succeed. YMCA Youth First programming has many options to help grow Assets in our youth—from break camps, ROCKs and Jr. Rocks, to the After School Program, Preschool, and Youth Sports and Leagues—there is something for everybody.
“We are so happy to continue offering our important programs thanks to the generous support of our community,” said Cassie Summers-Corp, Executive Director of C.A.S.T. “Every sponsorship and ticket purchase will go to ensure youth in Washington County will receive a safe environment, positive interactions, encouraging relationships, and crucial skills.”
The keynote speaker for the event will be Melanie Hack, of the Raegan’s Voice Foundation. Raegan’s Voice is a foundation that pays tribute to Raegan Carter, a 12 year old victim of bulling. On December 18, 2014; in an effort to numb the pain of the torment she had dealt with at school and online, she overdosed on prescription cough medicine.
Five days later, just 2 days before Christmas, she passed away at a local Children's Hospital. Her parents had been to her school 3 times since August, including the week before she overdosed, to voice their concerns of the bullying Reagan was enduring from a group of girls in her school. No actions were taken by the administrative staff to ensure Reagan's emotional and physical safety at school! Just hours before she overdosed, another incident with this same group of girls occurred at a school basketball game.
Her family, led by Reagan’s mother, Melanie Hack, is left now seeking answers, justice, and a widespread understanding that bullying is deadly. Their hope is that no other family will ever have to endure the pain and loss they are feeling now. "Reagan's Voice Foundation" was started by Reagan's parents to continue to raise awareness of the devastating effects of bullying, and also to offer hope and compassion to those struggling with thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
In addition to this powerful keynote speaker, attendees will have the chance to view local art from talented middle school students and vote on the People’s Choice Award, enjoy light refreshments, sip a cup of your favorite specialty teas from fine china, and raise funds to support Youth Programming in our community. Adult tickets are $50 for an individual, $90 for a couple, $175 for a table of 4, and $330 for a table of 8. Childcare will be provided onsite at our “Kiddie Tea Party” for children 12 and under for $5 per child.