SOURCE: National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association

National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association

SOURCE: Toy Industry Foundation

Toy Industry Foundation

July 28, 2016 10:53 ET

Thousands of Brand-New Toys Put Smiles on the Faces of Children in Foster Care

Local Chicago Toy Companies, Toy Industry Foundation and National CASA Association Team Up for Special "Play Your Part" Event

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - July 28, 2016) - More than 400 Chicago area children living in foster care received brand-new toys and enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon of play at a special "Play Your Part - Chicago" event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA) and CASA of Cook County. Held on Wednesday, July 27 at U.S. Cellular Field, the memorable event was made possible thanks to generous toy industry volunteers, donors and sponsors from more than 25 local toy companies.

Young children and teens awaiting placement in loving, permanent homes participated in this special event, where they picked out their very own toys and games, choosing from a wide selection that included arts and crafts, dolls, books, board games, and more. In total, TIF provided more than 4,500 toys valued at nearly $100,000 to children in foster care served by CASA of Cook County. These kids will be gifted with the additional new toys throughout the year to help celebrate birthdays, holidays and special occasions.

"Children who enter foster care often don't have any toys to call their own. A simple stuffed animal, doll, or set of building blocks can provide great comfort to a child living through a stressful situation, which is why we are so pleased to provide these deserving children with the gift of play," said Jean Butler, Executive Director of the Toy Industry Foundation. "We thank all of our toy industry donors and volunteers for making this year's Play Your Part event in Chicago such a huge success!"

"National CASA envisions a world where an abused or neglected child is given the opportunity to thrive in a safe, loving and permanent home," said Tara Perry, Chief Executive Officer of the National CASA Association. "Our partnership with TIF enables these children to feel joy, comfort and hope -- and to receive support from a caring, consistent adult volunteer. TIF's generosity helps us speak up on behalf of vulnerable children who have experienced unspeakable trauma and tragedy."

The afternoon also included volunteer-led activities and games for the kids, and other activities such as face-painting and crafts. The Chicago Fire Department's Fire Awareness & Public Education Division brought their Mobile Fire Safety Learning Center, a 40-foot rolling classroom used to teach children fire safety and where kids could practice fire escape techniques under simulated fire conditions. The Illinois State Police Department was also on-site with a member of their K9 unit, which demonstrated its skills by sniffing out hidden items.

To date, the Toy Industry Foundation and National CASA have distributed more than 265,000 toys to children in foster care. In addition, grant funds provided by the Toy Industry Foundation to National CASA and its programs support the recruitment and training of much needed CASA volunteers who act as the eyes and ears of judges, helping them make informed decisions about the best interests of at-risk children and youth.

The playthings distributed at Play Your Part - Chicago and being provided to thousands of additional local children in foster care were kindly donated by manufacturers, retailers and distributors to TIF's Toy Bank. Event sponsors were Fibre-Craft LLC, Intertek, Learning Resources, PlayMonster LLC, TOMY International, T.S. Shure Inc., and VTech.

About Toy Industry Foundation | toyindustryfoundation.org
The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to bring the magic of play to children in need. While other organizations provide food, shelter and support services to children and their families, TIF sees to it that these children have toys and opportunities to play in an attempt to restore both fun and a sense of normalcy to their lives. To date, TIF's signature program, The Toy Bank, has provided more than $128 million in toys to 19 million children in need around the globe, thanks to its generous toy donors.

About the National CASA Association | casaforchildren.org
The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, together with its state organizations and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive. Today, more than 76,000 CASA and GAL volunteers serve more than 250,000 children, but approximately 400,000 children are without an advocate. National CASA Association is working in partnership with its nearly 1,000 state organizations and local programs in 49 states to close that gap to ensure the highest quality advocacy on behalf of America's most vulnerable children. For more information, visit our website or call 800.628.3233.

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