CASA Conversations

Free Fun Fall Activities to do With Your CASA Child (Or Any Child)

By Juliana Oelkers, CASA Marketing and Communications Intern

It’s time to break out the cozy sweaters, boots, and pumpkin spiced everything. The hot, humid days of summer are beginning to fade, quickly being replaced with brisk autumn air and falling leaves. Fall is such a fun filled time of year, yet many children in foster care cannot always partake in all of the autumn themed festivities. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are in a position to change this.

When CASAs make their monthly visits to see the children on their cases, there are many activities they can do together to get excited for the season, give them the opportunity to escape the daily reality of foster care, and just feel like a kid. Here are a few ideas that can help you make the most of this time of year and of time together with your CASA child!

Fruit costumes, courtesy of Pin This

Fruit costumes, courtesy of Pin This

1.       Make DIY Halloween Costumes with your CASA Child

This is a great way to spend time together, while also creating a costume that he or she will love. There are endless possibilities when it comes to making your own costume without spending a dime. Some of the easiest costumes include fruit. All you need is a t-shirt in the desired fruit color and some fabric markers or permanent markers to decorate with. You can draw the seeds for fruits like strawberries and watermelons, circles to represent grapes, or lines for a pumpkin.

“Smarty Pants” costume, courtesy of Mommy Lessons 101

“Smarty Pants” costume, courtesy of Mommy Lessons 101

They can use old clothes they already have at home to make a costume, or come to CASA to pick up supplies. Do they have a jersey from their favorite team laying around? Just add sneakers and eye black to make the perfect Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, or Hope Solo costume. Other clothes such as an old sweater, white tube socks, and slippers can be paired with a cane and dusting of baby powder in their hair to turn you CASA child into a cute old lady or man.

For those kids who are class clowns, there are a number of DIY pun costumes that are guaranteed to be a hit. A black shirt with color copies of postage stamps pasted all over will make your CASA child “blackmail.” Glue candy Smarties to an old pair of jeans to be a “smarty pants.” If you have a basketball jersey, all you need to do is tape a cardboard doughnut (that you and your child decorated) onto the jersey to become “Dunkin Donuts.” With a little creativity your CASA child can be anything they want to this Halloween.

2.       Decorate a Paper Pumpkin

It doesn’t feel like fall has arrived until children decorate their own pumpkin. For a free option, stop by the CASA office and get some orange construction paper, markers, and/or paint. Children can cut out and decorate a pumpkin of their very own, making it scary, silly, or just plain fun.

3.       Discuss Favorite Halloween-themed Movies and Music

If your CASA child is a movie fan, ask them about their favorite scary (but not too scary) movies. Coco, Hotel Transylvania 3, Coraline, and Goosebumps are just a few they may like. Older children and youth may have seen The Addams Family, The Nightmare Before Christmas or Hocus Pocus. Do they know the words to oldie-but-goodie hits like Monster Mash, Thriller, or Witchy Woman?

Leaf coloring, courtesy of First Palette

Leaf coloring, courtesy of First Palette

4.       Color with Leaves

Kids who love to color, draw, paint, or be artistic will love this activity. All you need to do is collect some leaves outside with your CASA child and place them under a piece of paper. Then, using crayons, color over it and the pattern of the leaves will be revealed on the paper. You can use all different types of leaves and colors to create beautiful works of art that are perfect for fall. It is one of the most simple, yet entertaining things you can do with your CASA child this fall.

Every kid deserves to have fun during special holidays. As a CASA, you have the power to give your child a fantastic fall and create memories with them that will last a lifetime. 

Passaic County CASA honors Paterson advocates for children, raises more than $200,000 at Voices for Children Gala

On Friday, Sept. 20, Passaic County CASA celebrated a night of child advocacy at the organization’s annual Voices for Children Gala at the Preakness Hills Country Club in Wayne. During the evening, Passaic County CASA raised a record-breaking $219,000, which will serve to lift the voices of children in the foster care system by providing each a dedicated volunteer advocate. 

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The event kicked off with a cocktail hour and continued with a plated dinner, a “Lift Up a Child’s Voice” program, music by Daddy Pop, and lots of dancing. Voices for Children Honoree and former foster parent Karen Walker brought attendees to their feet following an impassioned speech about how she and her husband, the late Charles Walker, tirelessly advocated on behalf of children in foster care. The Walkers were foster parents for 26 children and adopted four children. Charles volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for five years and served nine children.

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During the “Lift Up a Child’s Voice” portion of the evening, attendees were surprised when an anonymous donor pledged a $100,000 match. Master of ceremonies Duncan Schieb led the way as the number climbed and reached $100,000.

"This was an amazing collaborative effort on the part of staff, board, donors, and supporters who came together to lift up the voices of our most vulnerable children,” said Executive Director Erica Fischer-Kaslander. 

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View more photos from the 2019 Voices for Children Gala here.