Dallas CASA Young Professionals are on a roll. First, their 2018 CASAblanca casino night sold out a day early. Then their high-stakes, high-energy party brought in nearly $100,000 for CASA — or Court Appointed Special Advocates — which works on behalf of abused and neglected kids.
About 450 young adults gathered at The Hall on Dragon on January 20, ready for a fun evening of dancing, casino games, cocktails, food, and prizes arranged by co-chairs Kelcey Hamilton, Reasha Hedke, and Dana Swann. Most of the dapper men took the option of black tie, while ladies donned both short, cocktail-chic dresses and sleek, floor-length gowns.
The philanthropic party-goers included Courtney Head, Annalee Webster, Chris Kim, Kristy Kim, Lauren Kinghorn, Donnie Edwards, Mark Bachman, Lauren Bachman, Elisa Richburg, Alan Cadema, Alyssa Mayeux, Chase Mayeux, Lauren Wilcox, Nick Edwards, John Forbes, and Ashley Zumwalt.
They lined up at bars in each corner and nibbled on passed hot hors d'oeuves provided by CN Catering on Dragon (the fried mac-and-cheese balls were a hit), then sampled from the impressive charcuterie spread and mini-desserts table along the back wall.
CASA Young Professionals president Jonathan Bassham took to the mic to welcome guests, organizers, and sponsors to the third annual event. Pivotal sponsors included Emma and Mark Hiduke, Jonathan and Christine Bassham, Angela and Chris Yotides, Bela and Chase Cooley, and Kay and Bob Schleckser.
"We're all here to support Dallas County kids that have either been abused or neglected, and they need your help," Bassham said, inviting a round of applause for all the CASA advocates in the room. "The impact that [advocates] make in kids' lives is really amazing."
With remarks over and cocktails in hand, most everyone hit the casino tables and some even hit the jackpot. Blackjack, craps, roulette, and Texas Hold'em tables stayed packed for hours, with players and revelers cheering around each crowded table.
At the same time, the 10-piece Special Edition band kept dancers moving and grooving and singing along to the likes of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)." An interactive photo booth was an essential stop, too.
When the casino tables closed, party-goers vied for fabulous prizes and auction items, including sports tickets, jewelry, home furnishings, and a downtown Dallas staycation.
CASA Young Professionals is a growing group of adults under 40 interested in supporting children who have been removed from unsafe homes. Dallas CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children living in foster care. In 2017, the organization says, Dallas CASA’s 1,314 volunteers advocated for 3,118 Dallas County children.