CARE Affair raises nearly 34k for local organization


Live jazz music, a silent auction, raffle, open bar and buffet dinner were all available to patrons on April 1 when the St. Charles CARE Center held its third annual CARE Affair at Martin’s Nursery.

Executive Director Lauren Johnson said in many ways this year’s event felt like a reintroduction of the CARE Center because, like so many other people and organizations, the center and its staff have spent the past two years grow and evolve in the face of challenges.

Over 200 people attended CARE Affair 2022, sponsored by Martin’s Nursery & Landscape, J&K Office Supply & Printing, United Healthcare Community Plan, Valero, Birdie’s Food & Fuel Cospolich Inc. and Cypress Land Developments LLC. The evening buffet was provided and served by the Satellite Centre’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism programs. Johnson said the CARE Center also collaborated with the Satellite Center’s Digital Media and Interactive Media courses when planning and executing the fundraiser.

“We work with this population and their families, so we love this partnership so much,” Johnson said.

Since 2014, the CARE Center, which is a partner agency of United Way St. Charles, has worked collaboratively with a network of organizations across and beyond the parish to engage, empower and uplift young people and their families through programs that promote strengths, address challenges and guide lifelong success.

Johnson said center staff advocate for young people and families, help them navigate the network
services, coordinates social services in the public and private sectors and directs youth and families to services and resources based on assessed needs.

“Each year, we help more than 1,000 community members meet their needs by removing barriers to access,” she said.

In 2018, the center implemented its flagship program, CARE Navigator, which is an innovative assessment service for young people and their families. The program is designed to identify and address health and wellness issues that cause young people to struggle at school, at home, or in the community. Navigators work with families to assess their strengths and needs, motivate them to recognize where they may need support, and empower them to begin the difficult process of change. Since its launch, CARE Navigator has served over 500 families – a 5x increase since the last CARE case in 2019.

“While we’re incredibly proud of this growth, we’re already busy setting goals to have an even bigger impact,” Johnson said. “With the help of partners like United Way of St. Charles and the Valero Energy Foundation, the CARE Center is working to deepen its presence in St. Charles Parish to connect directly with families in the community. »


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