My Name is Leif Calvin and Today I would like to talk aboutCASA; a local organization of volunteers that works for the less privileged childrenin our communities. The Yukon River Quest; a very long race, in the Yukon territory of Canada. and, Team Such a Blast! A group of men, dealing with mid life, in a unique way.
The Yukon river Quest is a 444 milecanoe and kayak race. A 3 day race that begins June 27th of this year.I will be racing to win, so I will be setting a pace of 70 strokes a minute for 48 hours.That’s over 4 thousand strokes and hour; and a 200 thousand strokes over the duration of the race.
Under the Banner of “TEAM SUCH A BLAST” I have gathered 6 of the bay areas most competitive male paddlers to race with me. We have all raced together, and against one another, over the yearsThis year we will race together in a 6 man Voyager canoe.The Voyager is a Canadian designed canoe, built specifically for the Yukon river.
Due to the extreme nature of this race there are 2 mandatory layovers. The race begins at noon in Whitehorse; we will paddle all day and all night reaching our first mandatory 7 hour stop at 6AM.At 1pm we will depart racing to our next 3 hour stop around 5AM the next morning.Departing at 8AM we hope to finish in Dawson City around 7 PM.
So although my crew intends to complete the race in 48 hours or less, the total time with the 10 hour mandatory layovers will run about 58 hours. This race,is the equivalent of paddling a canoe from San Clemente through Los Angeles, over the grapevine,up the I-5 and into San Francisco.
Why? Why? This brings us to CASA and the volunteers who work to help the children how have become dependents of the court.So often when we hear the phrase “the children are our future”, And we tend think of our own children. I know I do.The photo is of my own boys seeing life, as they do, through rose colored glasses.
But what about the other children of our community, and I am not talking of the kids from split homes and low income.I am referring to : Children who have been removed from their homes due to terrible trauma, or abuse.Children that struggle with the simple things in life.Children that look to a legal system of layers, judges and social workers as guardians and parents.
This is where CASA comes in. The CASA Program is committed to serving the abused and neglected children in Sonoma County who come before the Juvenile Court for protection. The purpose of CASA is to humanize the complicated, unfamiliar, and frightening legal, and child welfare systems, for the child victim, CASA provides trained volunteer to act as mentor, role model, support person, and advocate.
Now, I do not want to paint the Child welfare system as cold and ineffective. This is far form the reality.From my personal experience I found the opposite to be the case.I was so impressed with all the professionals involved, from the social workers to the judges.Yet, at the same time daunted by the unrealistic expectations and needs to be filled.
With tremendous case loads; The community servants work diligently and professionally.And that is the kicker! They are professionals, as they should, and need to be.However, the system also needs to provide companionshipto enrich lives of neglected children.A person who is not being paid to be with the child; Rather, a person who wants to be with the child.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special AdvocateI served as a CASA for a year. It was humbling, to say the least! When I finished my training at CASA, they gave me a few case files to choose from. In the back of my mind as I read these files, I heard, over and over, Jack Nicolson screaming. “You want the truth? You can’t handle the Truth!”.
What some children in our community endure is far more than I think most of us could endure.And I thought I was one of the “tough ones”. I’m not! and I know it, largely because of what I’ve seen and witnessed within the CASA program.
I used to think that these things only happened in other places such as LA, or Chicago, or New York, but our community has them to. behind closed doors and in the court rooms across America; in small towns and large, tragic things happen to young children every day.
Each day there are 600 Sonoma County children, in protective care. CASA helps 180-200 of these kids a year, They do this with 160-180 Volunteers.You could become a CASA!
Or make a pledge: To Casa - through “Team such a blast”2 Cents a mile is than two gallons of gasoline.5 cents a mile is less a trip to the movies.10 Cents a mile is far less than your cell phone bill.25 cents a mile is less than a nice bottle of wine. (albeit at a nice restaurant)
All funds pledged to Team such a blast will go directly to CASA of Sonoma.And are Tax deductable.CASA is a 501 (c)(3) You can make a difference.Please help these wonderful CASA volunteers.
The Yukon Territory is the size of Texas.It is populated with under 34 k people.25 k live in Whitehorse.The only town on the race course is Carmacks; with a population of a whopping 300. The rest of the river is wilderness, inaccessible by car. Literally miles from anywhere.
This past Saturday I paddled solo from Petaluma to the Golden Gate bridge. 34 miles, 5 hours. Then on Sunday and easy 12 mile run to recuperate. This will become an easy weekend in the coming months. Solid food after 12 hours of paddling becomes almost intolerable yet you need the fuel. So we turn to liquid food, Antacid and caffeine pills.Believe it or not one of the most difficult tasks is to train ourselves to pee wile paddling.
And over the coarse of 2 days, 6 men taking pee breaks can add a significant amount of time.So…..Inthe spirit of “Team such-a-Blast. Live with passion Help others and above all else: Enjoy the ride (even when you are sitting in your own urine)
I have pledge cards for you to sign. You can make a cash donation now.Or wait to send funds in once our race is complete.You can also log onto www.SonomaCASA.org and make the pledge on line using paypal or credit card.Please include your e-mail address so I can send you an e-mail letting you know how the race unfolds.
Children that have been through a trauma or abuse.Children that struggle with the simple things in life.Children that rely on the legal system as parents. 7 of 20
The Sonoma CASA Program is committed toserving the abused and neglected childrenin Sonoma County who come before theJuvenile Court for protection. The purposeof CASA is to humanize the complicated,unfamiliar, and frightening legal and childwelfare systems for the child victim byproviding a trained volunteer who will actas a consistent mentor, role model, supportperson, and advocate. 8 of 20
The Child Welfare system is not ineffective.It has good people at all levels, doing a fantastic job.The job expectation is unrealistic. 9 of 20
The Child Welfaresystem is operated byprofessionals.But, children also needadult friends. 10 of 20
To be a CASA is humbling“You want the Truth? You can’t handle the Truth!” 11 of 20
The strength of children is amazing.I though I was tough. I’m not! 12 of 20
Even though we may not see them. Abused and traumatized children are everywhere. 13 of 20
Each day there are 600 children in Sonoma County in thejuvenile court system.CASA helps 180-200 kids a year.CASA has 160-180 volunteers. 14 of 20
Or make a pledge 2 cents a mile = $8.88 5 cents a mile = $22.20 10 cents a mile = $44.40 25 cents a mile = $111.00 Other $ ____________ 15 of 20
Casa is a 501 (c)(3) All funds will go to CASA All funds are tax deductable You can make a difference Please support the CASA Volunteers 16 of 20
The Yukon Territory The size of Texas Population 34K 17 of 20