By Dawn Weissman, Program Development Coordinator, Casey Cares Foundation
The Casey Cares Foundation provides uplifting and heartwarming programs to enhance the lives of critically ill children and their families.
Casey Cares is participating in Baltimore Eats for Good, an area wide campaign that brings together restaurants, retailers and nonprofits for a fun, easy to do fundraising event. Baltimore Eats for Good and BmoreEvents sat down with Casey Cares to learn more about their mission and work in the community.
Tell us about your nonprofit (or cause) in your own words?
We reach out to critically ill children and their families by customizing fun activities “with a special touch”, not just once in a lifetime or once a year, but many times throughout the child’s illness and even one year beyond.
Casey Cares believes it is the little pleasures in life that make a big impact on families who must make every day count!
We have 6 programs that we offer our families:
- Our Family Festivities Program provides families with tickets to sporting events, area attractions, museums, plays, live shows and concerts.
- Casey Cares works with hotels and businesses, to design weekend vacation packages which include lodging, meals and activities for families as part of our Celebration Vacation Program.
- Celebrating a birthday is an important milestone for a critically ill child . We initiated our Birthday Blast Program to honor their special day by sending a surprise delivery of a birthday cake, flowers, cookies, or balloon bouquets on the child’s birthday.
- Our Kami’s Jammies Program provides new sleepwear and themed pajama parties to pediatric patients on extended hospital stays.
- Our newest program, the Caring Connections Group Party Program allows families to meet, share and emotionally support each other while taking part in fun group activities together.
- Finally, our Better Together Program encourages families who have lost a child to continue to participate with our programs for an additional year to help them heal.
For more information, please visit our webpage CaseyCares.org.
Tell us about a project/campaign/service you are currently working on?
Our 6th Annual Casey Cares Foundation & Orioles 5K Run and 1-mile fun walk at Oriole Park at Camden Yards will be held on Saturday, August 1st. The 3.1 mile run/walk begins and ends at Oriole Park at Camden Yards (with an on-field finish!) and includes post-race refreshments. Early registrants will receive a race t-shirt. Race winners in each age group will be announced in a pre-game ceremony at the game.
Tell us about the people in your organization and the community you serve?
[Tweet “Casey Cares began helping 5 families in #Baltimore in 2000 – now serving close to 700 families throughout the Mid-atlantic.”]
We serve children ages birth to 18 who are on active treatment and frequently hospitalized for a life-threatening illness. Children are referred to our programs mostly by social workers in area hospitals, as well as through former families and current families we serve.
Casey Cares employs seven full-time and one part-time staff members. We are fortunate to have a wonderful group of volunteers who come in on a weekly basis and run many of our programs. Casey Cares has an active Board and Advisory Board who work tirelessly to help us provide activities to our families.
Tell us specifically how your nonprofit or cause has impacted the community you serve.
The families we serve carry weights of their own, and find it difficult to organize outings such as the experiences we offer. The idea of purchasing tickets, especially with no guarantees of actually being able to attend, is just not a possibility. We take all of the planning and cost out of the equation for these families, allowing them to simply enjoy a day of fun with their loved ones.
Sky box seats at baseball games, live concert tickets, movie and pizza nights, cultural events such as plays, passes to the zoo and entrance to local attractions and amusement parks are just some of the incredible and fulfilling events we can acquire for our families. The Casey Cares Foundation makes an effort to support the intellectual, emotional, and social development of our children with a multitude of different art, entertainment and culturally related activities to make sure they get rare and important experiences. Driving to the theater, purchasing movie tickets, popcorn, and soda seem rather run-of-the-mill for many families, but for the families of Casey Cares it is a welcome escape from the anguish and monotony that can overwhelm their day to day lives after diagnosis and during treatment.
When the children are feeling well, a trip to the zoo or an amusement park with their family and friends can become an invaluable memory. Even if a child is not well enough for an outing, we provide ways for the whole family to spend quality time together. Pizza parties can be a great way to enjoy a quiet evening, either at home or at the hospital. Breaking up the routine of treatment can aid families in improving the outlook on their situation and not suffering from depression or anxiety.
What are some of your and your colleagues favorite restaurants in the Baltimore area?
Bond Street Social, Pazzo, Ruth’s Chris, Roy’s, Ra Sushi, Woodberry Kitchen.
What is your favorite “Baltimore” food?
Berger Cookies, Polock Johnny’s, Crab Cakes.
Who are your favorite local celebrities and why?
Duff Goldman Charm City Cakes – they donated a fabulous cake to Casey Cares for Brooks Robinson’s Birthday.
Learn More About Casey Cares!