07 Jun Community Collaboration: CASA Kane County is Looking for a Few Good Men… and Women!
A record number of 610 children’s lives were touched – perhaps even saved – through the impassioned efforts by CASA Kane County during 2015. Although CASA says they support abused and neglected children “one child at a time,” in reality, the group may have multiple children in their caseload at any time.
This means the nonprofit must continually find and train people to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) and as the Guardian ad Litem (GAL).
To serve this growing need, CASA Kane County found they needed to expand their training efforts, resulting in larger class sizes. One problem. Not enough space. Fortuitously, about the time CASA Kane County was to begin training their first class of 2015, 25N Coworking opened its doors. Deb McQuaid, director of advocate education, heard about the space and stopped by to see what the buzz was about. It didn’t hurt that 25N Coworking and CASA’s office in the Kane County Courthouse at 100 S. Third Street in Geneva were only blocks apart.
What Deb found was the perfect meeting space for her next training. “For us, it has been a great outlet,” she commented. “The staff has been fabulous at meeting our needs. We also serve food there, which they (staff at 25N) help arrange.”
Concierge services are available with meeting space rentals. This includes contracting with local restaurants for food. Several of 25N’s Sidekick food partners used by CASA are Nobel House, Firehouse Pizza and Grill, Old Towne Pub & Eatery, and the Early Light Café. By utilizing local, independent businesses for food, McQuaid says it is a “win-win” for everyone involved. She also pointed out the FreshGround Roasting’s coffee is a perk, too.
“The food has been delicious by the way,” Deb added.
Of the assortment of meeting spaces available, CASA needed different spaces for 15 to 40 people for about three hours at a time.
Meagan Schoenrock, director of member experience at 25N Coworking, is equally complimentary of CASA Kane County and the work they do.
“It’s been great having CASA here with us since the day we opened,” expressed Meagan. “They are a great community group that has used some of our spaces in a way that no one else has.”
25N is making plans to launch a “Suitcase Initiative” drive. According to CASA’s website, “A new suitcase, duffle bag or backpack is given to every child that enters abuse and neglect court in Kane County. Sometimes they come with nothing, or only a few personal items hastily thrown into a garbage bag.” Watch for more information about what we plan to collect and a kickoff date.
This story of collaboration has another twist as well. Tess Bondavalli, community manager at 25N Coworking, first learned about 25N during her training as a CASA volunteer. She was a member of McQuaid’s original training held at 25N in 2015. “When I saw this space, I was hooked,” she related. “I knew I would be a part of the 25N community, but I didn’t expect to be an employee.”
At 25N you never know who you will meet and where this connection may lead you.
As a reminder, CASA Kane County is always seeking more volunteers to fill the growing need for advocates. McQuaid points out that CASAs come from a variety of backgrounds. For those interested, the first step is to visit CasaKaneCounty.org. You’ll learn all about CASA, ways to volunteer, events to support and so much more. Might we see you at an upcoming training class?
25N Coworking is proud to be engaged in our community—one that includes CASA and other nonprofits. It is a mutually beneficial connection and one that makes us feel good.