Refreshed CASA Builds Strong Relationships

December 10, 2019

Two CASAs, led by Annie Broos, Jerry Macken, Chuck Miesbauer, Joyce Nordby, and Emmy Springer combined sources on December 10 to pack 720 sandwiches for people experiencing homelessness.

CASA (Connecting Adults and Students to Achieve) has been a big part of the CDH culture for six years. About three times a month, this program provides every person in the building the opportunity to step away from their daily classes and responsibilities to build relationships across grade levels.

Every CASA includes four or five students from each grade and is led by two adults. The program was created to foster consistent connections and interactions and ensure a system in which the academic, social, spiritual and emotional needs of all community members are met. Essentially, the goal is to ensure that no one falls through the cracks at CDH.

Over the past six years, CASA successfully built community and gave students opportunities to lead. However, as time went on, faculty and staff members identified challenges with keeping the program engaging and effective.

With the goal of making CASA time even more purposeful, a CASA Academy convened in June to develop a plan for this school year.  Members of the faculty and staff who participated in the CASA planning sessions decided to 'refresh' the structure of CASA by focusing each meeting around one of three themes: wellness, academic, or community building.

As always, every meeting begins with a prayer and a check-in. Then, groups are provided with a few options to achieve the goal of the meeting.

Wellness meetings give students an opportunity to meditate, exercise (by playing volleyball, kickball, or another active game), or discuss their faith. Academic meetings provide a chance to receive advice from other students and make a plan for school success. Community building meetings build relationships between students and their CASA leaders.  

CASA families have the option to plan their family meeting to reflect the interests/needs of their group. For instance, this week, two CASAs came together and combined their efforts to pack sandwiches for 363 Days, an organization that distributes sandwiches to the homeless. By working together, they were able to make more than 700 sandwiches in 40 minutes for this unique program that helps those in our community who are homeless.

"Our family decided that this would be a good way for us to prepare for the Christmas season," said Annie Broos, one of the CASA leaders. "Not only did they feel good about spending our family time doing something important for others in need, they had a chance to work side-by-side with each other and students from another CASA."

So far, the new structure has been a positive and welcome change for the CASA program.

"CASA families have loved the opportunity to compete in volleyball and have liked the increased variety of activities that are offered," said CASA Coordinator and Assistant Principal Amy Bellus.


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