CASA for Children of Essex County

A sea of red shoes flooded North Caldwell’s Green Brook Country Club to raise awareness and funds for CASA for Children of Essex County’s third Ruby Red Shoe Ball on November 1, which honored Montclair resident, Patricia Devine-Harms. The event attracted over 200 guests with the theme, “There’s No Place Like Home” and raised over $88,000 in ticket sales, sponsorships, and auction items while increasing awareness of the program, which works through the Family Court system and directly with the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency to provide trained and supervised advocacy for children in foster care.

After final expenses are paid from the event, the organization will profit $62,000 that will go toward helping fund the organization’s operations, with the goal of growing and serving even more children and youth in foster care of Essex.

Karen Burns introduces Mrs. Patricia Devine-Harms, 2014 honoree
Karen Burns introduces Mrs. Patricia Devine-Harms, 2014 honoree

The event is the second largest in the organization’s 30 year history, and could surpass that number as corporate matches and pledges come in. The event was generously sponsored by Montclair Radiology, Sedgwick LLP of Newark, The Air Group as well as a number of individuals.

Ms. Devine-Harms, who as chair of the Junior League of New Jersey’s State Public Affairs Committee helped to pass human trafficking legislation prior to this year’s Super Bowl, encouraged the guests of the Ruby Red Shoe Ball to think critically about child welfare in our community.

The evening’s co-chairs, Betsy Beyer of Montclair and Tracy Reilly of Glen Ridge, attribute the success of the evening to a number of factors.

“We wanted to make the evening as fun and inspiring as possible, and we also wanted to better leverage technology and social media,” said trustee, Tracy Reilly.

For the first time ever, the event incorporated a silent auction, a live auction and a text-to-pledge appeal. They also encouraged guests to help raise awareness of CASA’s work and the event itself by sharing on social media, using the hashtag #RRSB14.

“Facebook and Twitter are important platforms for us, for different reasons. We were thrilled to see so many people engaging with us throughout the evening,” Reilly added.

The event was also completely rebranded by graphic designer Danielle Bear of Upper Montclair.

In the past CASA for Children of Essex County has hosted this fun and inspiring event at the Newark Club and Montclair Golf Club, raising about $50,000 each evening. This year, they have decided to bring the night to the Caldwells, specifically the Green Brook Country Club, which has a long standing relationship with the program.

“We are so humbled and grateful by the generous offers of support and new friends we have made,” said Karen Burns, executive director of CASA for Children of Essex County. “Many of our staff were able to attend for the first time to see how this level of support is incredibly powerful and motivating. We want to provide so many more children with dedicated advocates, who work so hard and make such an impact in the life of a child. This event sets us squarely in pursuit of that as we head into 2015.”