Child support nonprofit CASA expands to Connecticut, led by Dwight Hall Yale alumni

Read the full Yale Daily News story here

In the last three months, Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, a national organization connecting individual volunteers to advocate for neglected or at-risk children, has solidified and expanded its Connecticut branch, involving over nine Yale alumni amongst its leadership and group of volunteers. 

Further expanding from CASA Southern Connecticut, which was started in 2019, Director Josiah Brown ’92 and other leadership are now in the process of training the organization’s seventh cohort of volunteers, each of which has about 13-15 individuals. It has served nearly 60 children in the last two years, helping find them extended families, aiding them through finding a foster home and advocating for them in educational systems. On a national scale, CASA has served 271,800 children since its founding in 1977 and amassed a network of 93,300 volunteers.

Brown, originally from Windham, Connecticut, said he has always felt rooted in New Haven. While at Yale, he participated in Dwight Hall’s Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis, where he was connected with a younger New Haven student in the area. He recalled bringing the student into Morse College and frequent communication between the two of them. Years later, he has been corresponding with the boy again, but now, both are fathers with children. Over the summers of his undergraduate years, he also worked with Upward Bound, a federal program that prepares low-income or first-generation students for college through the University of Connecticut.

About the Author

Lydia Burleson

Lydia Burleson served as the Communications and Alumni Engagement Associate for Dwight Hall at Yale, Center for Public Service and Social Justice from June 2021-June 2022. A first-generation low-income student from rural Texas, Lydia graduated from Yale cum laude in 2021 with a degree in English and a nonfiction creative writing concentration. During her college years, Lydia increased awareness of marginalized voices with the public writing she did for The Yale Daily News and the Yale Admissions office. Her Dwight Hall experiences included free college advising with student-led member groups REACH and Matriculate. Dwight Hall empowered Lydia to uplift other disadvantaged students and to increase access to education for people who might not have otherwise received these resources. She is currently completing an English PhD at Stanford University with a Knight-Hennessy Fellowship.