Know Your Nonprofit: Child Advocates of Nevada County | TheUnion.com

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Know Your Nonprofit: Child Advocates of Nevada County

Child Advocates of Nevada County

Marina Bernheimer, executive directo

Email: marina@caofnc.org

Phone: 530-265-9550, x223

Website: http://www.caofnc.org

What is your mission statement?

Child Advocates helps children grow up safely, securely, and ready for the future.

Briefly, when and how did your nonprofit start?

In 1993, our local court and a group of caring citizens started the Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA) for abused and neglected children in Nevada County's child welfare and dependency court system. After successfully launching CASA, the Board of Directors expanded the mission of Child Advocates. They envisioned all children growing up in nurturing homes and reaching their full potential in Nevada County.

Today, the Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies (FTHB) and Welcome Baby programs help families with newborns and young children to get off to a great start as they learn about child development, positive parenting, and local resources. Child Safety Puppeteers provides fun puppet shows in preschool through third grade classrooms so young children are empowered to stand up to bullying, inappropriate touches, and learn how to ask adults for help. And of course CASA continues to provide a mentor and a voice for children in dependency court who have been removed from home when parents fail to care for them.

What is your annual budget?

Approximately $1,000,000.

What are the primary sources of funding?

We depend on the community's support through individual donations, purchases at our annual See's Candy Sales at Easter and Christmas, and participation or sponsorship in our Children for Children Concert in February. About 80 percent of our services are supported by contracts, the remaining $200,000 comes from donors and events.

Who is your primary audience, the people who benefit the most from your organization?

Local children! Over 3,500 children see a puppet show each year. We provide a CASA volunteer to about 100 children in our local dependency court. We also support about 185 eager and enthusiastic new parents and their children through Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies. More than 350 new parents receive a Welcome Baby visit at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital soon after delivery.

List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit's history.

We are very proud to have served 100 percent of the children in dependency court for the first time this year! It has been our goal for many, many years to serve every child who needs a CASA. We are now serving infants and toddlers who need a voice because they literally cannot speak for themselves.

We were very pleased when former Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies participant, Shannon Cotter, was the key note speaker at the statewide Home Visiting Summit this summer.

The national accreditation firm "Healthy Families America" accredited Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies in 2014 . We thank our donors for help making all of this possible.

List the biggest challenges you face.

Our biggest challenge is letting the community know that we need their help! We are so busy with our programs that we neglect to tell people about it! Many people think we are part of a county agency. To clarify, we are a nonprofit serving Nevada County's most vulnerable children. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, and donors we work to keep children safe and strive to meet their full potential. We are always looking for volunteers and donors to help with CASA, fundraising events, and our See's Candy sales.

What is your primary goal for the next year?

For the upcoming year we will continue to help Nevada County's most vulnerable children and families overcome obstacles and challenges. Every year we must raise over $200,000 so that we can reach every child who would benefit from our services.

Our goal for 2016 and 2017 is to reach more supporters to let them know how they can help us reach this goal. We all benefit when children in our community thrive. Every child deserves to grow up nurtured and protected.

What is your primary goal for the next three to five years?

Our long term goal is to continue to meet the need of 100 percent of the children in dependency court. We also want to reach out to parents in our Child Safety Puppeteers Program so they fully understand the language we use to discuss inappropriate touching and bullying. And of course we want to continue to offer first rate support to parents through our home visiting program. We are committed to helping children and parents navigate challenges so they can come out ahead.

How can someone become involved with your organization?

We have lots of ways to help! Donors can support our programs, sponsor our annual benefit concert, and support advertising for See's Candy Sales. There are many ways to volunteer too. We would love help with our fundraising events, in our office, or you can work directly with children by becoming a CASA.

What kind of skills are you looking for from volunteers?

Our CASA volunteers are people who enjoy working with children. We are looking for someone who can help us with our newsletters and social media efforts; if you have experience and a little time to assist you will be very welcome. We would also love help with our concert, See's Candy sales, or in the office

The Center for Nonprofit Leadership provides the weekly Know Your Nonprofit feature. You can learn more about CNL online at http://CNLSierra.org. The Center is on Facebook http://facebook.com/NevadaCountyNonProfitLeadership and Twitter @NevCoNonprofits.