Boots and Bling Barbecue Supporting Yavapai County’s CASA For Kids Foundation
By Vicky Ouellette
This year’s Boots and Bling BBQ hosted by Yavapai Casa for Kids Foundation was a night full of laughter, games, delicious food, and dancing into the night to the swinging tunes and rich harmonies of local band 5 In The Wheel.
The event was held at the beautiful Windmill House venue in Chino Valley, overlooking a pond with lush foliage, a bridge illuminated with golden lights and cascading water fountains, setting a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the evening.
The barbeque was this year’s annual fundraiser and gala to recognize, honor, and celebrate the work done by the foundation throughout the year to serve the foster youth of Yavapai County. There was a silent auction, wine pull, photo booth, a cornhole tournament and prizes. Revenue from all ticket sales goes back into the valuable services that the non-profit provides for the county’s foster community.
This year’s event stood out among others because of its genuine atmosphere of celebration and liveliness, a sentiment echoed by many who attended. “The event felt even more put together than previous years, which allowed for a lot of camaraderie and really great energy,” attendee Alysha Schloeman of AmTrust Bank said.
These events are also hugely informative and they allow the community to get a deeper look into all that the Yavapai CASA For Kids Foundation truly does.
The first guest speaker, Superior Court Judge Anna Young, highlighted some of the events that took place in the last year, including the bi-annual Adoption Day event which, thanks to funding from the Yavapai CASA For Kids, was turned into a day that the kids and families will never forget, filled with celebration, toys, good food, lots and lots of balloons, and even two enormous bouncy houses.
Being able to provide an atmosphere of joy on what can otherwise be a daunting day for foster kids is a great source of pride for the foundation, and well earned. This comes from understanding the importance of not only striving to meet the basic needs of foster youth, but also making them feel celebrated.
Young also gave the exciting announcement that a new Visitation Center is going up in Prescott Valley this year. For parents who have lost and are fighting to regain custody of their children, nothing is as imperative as having quality time with their child and maintaining the emotional bond between them, and having the space provided to do so.
“The members of the CASA For Kids Foundation are a force to be reckoned with,” Anna says, “The fact that they are getting this Visitation Center built is a huge endeavor and is incredible.”
The final guest speaker, the foundations own Tammi Miller, gave a moving speech on her own experience growing up in the foster care system and the uncertainties and harsh realities that those growing up in the system face. Now, she is deeply honored to have the position she does, helping provide the children with opportunities that can ensure their safety and success. Though it was difficult, she said, the most important message she hopes to instill in young people who find themselves in similar shoes, is that it can be done.
“Hearing Tammi’s speech and how her story has come full-circle really brought everything that this organization does home for me,” one attendee said.
The organization continues to strive to expand, grow, and touch the lives of more and more foster children and those affected by the foster care system, and events like Friday’s Gala are an enormous help in raising funds and awareness that contribute to their worthy cause.