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United Way and CASA of SOLA form partnership to better serve Acadiana

United Way of Acadiana
Posted at 3:56 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 17:17:09-04

LAFAYETTE, La. - United Way of Acadiana and CASA of SOLA announced Wednesday that they have entered into a partnership agreement in order to more completely serve those in need in Acadiana.

With a growing implementation of "wraparound" services, services where youth and families are provided with a comprehensive support team, this partnership is a natural step forward for both organizations. CASA of SOLA not only serves children in foster care, but has been working to provide child abuse prevention services to families to reduce the number of children entering foster care. United Way of Acadiana funds more than 30 agencies and program in its four-parish region and is always looking for ways to forge partnerships and support best practices, according to a joint press release from the agencies.

Both organizations saw an opportunity to strengthen their missions through the partnership. United Way continues to leverage its multi-tenant center by bringing more services under its roof while enhancing support of the nonprofit community. United Way of Acadiana has long housed the Volunteer Center, and CASA of SoLA provides support to children in foster care through volunteer placement.

This partnership was initially facilitated in part by a grant from The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation who funded United Way of Acadiana during COVID 19. This funding was to help stand up the My Community Cares program - one of five pilot programs in the state to better serve families that has been incubated by CASA of SoLA over the last several
months, stated in the release.

My Community Cares is a pilot program that is working as the one door approach to helping families or individuals who are in need of services in the community. Through My Community Cares individuals are connected to programs and resources for basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing along with additional help in finding resources for jobs, education, parenting classes, or financial management.

My Community Cares focuses on building relationships and increasing communication among other non-profits and agencies to increase resources, continue to identify gaps in services and work to fill gaps in services when needed. Through COVID, UWA saw a need for home delivery of food for individuals who could not leave their homes to get their own food. With the
partnerships of organizations such as 232-HELP and Second Harvest, UWA was able to activate volunteers to deliver meals to people in need.

"The COVID crisis exacerbated a lot of the underlying issues faced by underserved communities. It underscored the importance of getting better organized and coordinated as the volume of people in need increases due to the economic downturn," said CASA of SOLA Executive Director, Heather Blanchard.

United Way of Acadiana is deeply committed to the principles of collective impact, and this new partnership is a latest example of that body of work. "Having CASA of SOLA located on our campus, being able to collaborate on projects, and share data-driven results efficiently, is very exciting," says Carlee Alm-LaBar, President/CEO of United Way of Acadiana. "We often say that 'Change doesn't happen alone,' and we seek out partners who can bring real change to our communities."

CASA of SOLA staff began operating from the United Way's nonprofit campus on July 1. They will retain their board and staff.

More information about their services is available at casaofsola.org or by phone at 337-268-5111.

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