CHICAGO, IL – Last week, more than 300 Chicago-area children living in foster care received brand-new toys and enjoyed a fun afternoon of play at a special “Play Your Part – Chicago” event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA). Held at Guaranteed Rate Field, the day was made possible thanks to generous toy industry volunteers, donors and sponsors from more than two dozen local toy companies.
Chicago-area children living in foster care were treated to a fun day of play at last week’s Play Your Part-Chicago.
Children awaiting placement in loving, permanent homes picked out their own toys and games from a wide selection of arts & crafts, board games, books, dolls and more. The afternoon also included kid-friendly activities and games led by volunteers at company-sponsored activity stations. In addition to providing toys to the children at the event, the Foundation is donating more than 11,000 toys valued at over $150,000 to thousands of additional foster care children in the Chicago area to help celebrate birthdays, holidays and other special occasions.
“It’s heartwarming to see how a simple toy, game, or stuffed animal can provide so much comfort to a child in foster care,” says Jean Butler, executive director at the Toy Industry Foundation. “That’s why our partnership with National CASA is so important. Thanks to the generosity of the entire toy industry, we have been able to provide more than $3.7 million in toys to over 370,000 foster children since 2013. This year’s Play Your Part event in Chicago was yet another success, bringing the gift of play to thousands of deserving children.”
In addition to providing hundreds of thousands of toys to children in foster care, the Toy Industry Foundation has provided $1 million in grant funding to National CASA, enabling them to support recruitment and training of CASA volunteers to stand up for the needs and rights of abused and neglected children in the court system.
“Play Your Part is a special event not just for the children who received toys but also for the staff and volunteer advocates in our nationwide network,” says Michelle Olson, chief advancement officer at National CASA. “It is encouraging to us that so many members of the toy industry came out and gave their time and energy to help make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.”