Toy Industry Foundation and National CASA Association Join Forces to Help Children in Need at "Play Your Part"

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Logo

LOS ANGELES, CALIF., May 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Close to 50,000 toys packaged by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association and the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) on Friday are on their way to children in foster care throughout Southern California.

The "Play Your Part" event featured more than 200 volunteers from 28 toy companies. It is the first of three TIF/CASA events around the country this summer. Toys packaged on Friday are being delivered to five additional CASA program sites—Santa Barbara, Orange County, Riverside County, Imperial County and San Bernadino County—then distributed to 6,000 children served by the CASA programs.

"Children in foster care have lost so much," said National CASA Association CEO Michael Piraino. "Receiving a toy, accompanied by a note from a caring volunteer, will mean the world to them."

"Each of us has a role to play in improving the lives of children," said Jean Butler, executive director of the Toy Industry Foundation. "Our toy industry volunteers feel privileged to work alongside National CASA to give the gift of joy to foster children during a profoundly difficult time in their lives. We are proud to play our part."

"Play Your Part" was made possible thanks to the generous toy donations, volunteer teams, and sponsorship provided by dozens of toy industry companies, including the following "Big Heart" and Specialty event sponsors: Bandai America Incorporated, Funrise Toy Corporation, GennComm, JAKKS Pacific, LeapFrog Enterprises and Mattel.

The partnership between National CASA and TIF began in 2013 and has delivered 71,000 toys to foster children. In addition, grant funds provided by the Toy Industry to National CASA and local CASA programs are helping to recruit and train needed CASA volunteers to stand up for the needs and rights of abused and neglected children. Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care. Only 230,000 of them are assigned a CASA volunteer.

CASA volunteers serve as trained advocates to provide one-on-one advocacy and guidance for foster children waiting to be placed in permanent homes. The complicated foster care and family court systems are often confusing and frightening for children. CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of the children they work with in both the courtroom and community. Volunteers work closely with judges to provide critical information on each case to ensure that each child's rights and needs are being met.

The next CASA/Toy Industry Foundation events will take place on June 19 and July 19, 2014, in Lowell, Ark., and Kansas City, Mo., respectively. Attendees will include representatives from the local CASA programs, local toy industry members, and kids in the foster care system and will feature fun activities and the distribution of toys to foster kids in the area.

Photo captions:

  • 2013 Mrs. International Amy Gregorio, National CASA CEO Michael Piraino and Toy Industry Foundation Executive Director Jean Butler at the May 16 "Play Your Part" event in Los Angeles
  • Toy Industry Foundation volunteers packaging toys

About The National CASA Association

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of more than 900 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. The only program of its kind, CASA volunteers are empowered by the courts to provide children with one-on-one advocacy. CASA volunteers see their assigned children regularly and interview all the adults who impact their lives. Volunteer advocates offer judges the critical information they need to ensure each child's rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care, staying with the child until she is placed in a loving permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.

About Toy Industry Foundation

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to bring joy, comfort, and learning to children in need through play. The Foundation currently fulfills its mission through core programs including The Toy Bank™ and grants to organizations whose missions are in line with that of the Toy Industry Foundation. The first industry-wide program of its kind, The Toy Bank receives donations of newly manufactured toys from members of the toy industry and distributes them through local charities to underserved, at-risk and homeless children throughout the United States and around the world.

Media Contact:
Chris Guizlo for the National CASA Association, (206) 343-1543 or
Adrienne Appell for Toy Industry Foundation, (646) 520-4863 or

Photos accompanying this release are available at:

CONTACT: Chris Guizlo for the National CASA Association, (206) 343-1543 or Adrienne Appell for Toy Industry Foundation, (646) 520-4863 or

Source: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)