PHOENIX - Arizona Cardinals' Head Coach Bruce Arians is challenging fans across the Valley to help out the thousands of foster children in our state.
Arians and his wife, Christine, have teamed up with CASA, an acronym for 'Court Appointed Special Advocates,' to help those in the system be better represented, particularly when a judge visits the child's case.
These volunteers help judges make life-changing decisions for these children based on the CASA volunteers observations.
CASA aims to recruit people from the community to help out with the foster care children. The program has been in Arizona for 31 years.
"Since 1985, we've served over 12,000 cases," State program manager Nancy Mulever said. "As a CASA volunteer, they review all aspects of childs' life, they get to really understand who that child is, and what the barriers are for permanency for that child."
Currently the program has just over 1,000 volunteers, but is looking to increase to 5,000 or more to assist with the 17,000+ kids in the system.
"Children with CASA spend less time in foster care, they receive more services, and they're much less likely to reenter foster care once they've reached permanency," Mulever said.
"I call the program here a hidden gem," Christine Arians said. "That's why we do what we do with the events in the Valley...we're raising money but truthfully we're trying to raise awareness."
Head coach Bruce Arians sees the turnout firsthand as a coach.
"The stories that we hear every year at the combine, of how guys got to this level, are amazing," Arians said. "Kids that were homeless sleeping in cars, at 16 living on their own, and almost every time they were saved by their coach. That's probably why I'm a coach is because everybody i looked up to growing up was a coach and this is the same thing --- this is coaches for kids."