Maribelia Avalos Shisslak, and a group of passionate volunteers committed to serving the Denver Metro Area, founded Community Athletic Sports Academy (C.A.S.A.) as a 501(c)(3) in 2008. The founders were from very different backgrounds. This diversity provided valuable perspectives, which helped shape C.A.S.A.’s all-inclusive approach.
Initially, we provided our services in the Westwood neighborhood in West Denver. We started as an after school program in three elementary schools.
In 2009, C.A.S.A. formalized a partnership with VISUM LLC, which allowed C.A.S.A. priority use of the facility at VISUM Sports Complex, located at 5351 W. 6th Ave., Lakewood CO, 80214. This partnership provided C.A.S.A. with an official home from which to establish our efforts to promote leadership, values and character development to a broader spectrum of Denver youth. It also provided us with a critical juncture from which to involve the whole family into our leadership through sports education offerings.
Our first parent/youth program was a partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2010. Together, we implemented nutrition classes for families – providing parents with an opportunity to learn how to cook nutritious meals at low cost. Concurrently, the program emphasized how “meal preparation time” provided kids with an excellent time for “study sessions” to focus on their academics.
Thanks to the ADA, who donated all the materials, and the educators who led the classes, the program was free to participants and a complete success. This is very important to C.A.S.A.’s mission, because while soccer is the keystone of the organization, it is meant to be a reward for working hard at school and at home.
In 2011, the Design-Build Studio of the U.C. Denver College of Architecture and Planning chose to help C.A.S.A. make improvements to their facility as their semester studio project.
Other recent community partners who have supported C.A.S.A.’s mission include: Operation Frontline, University of Colorado and the Denver Broncos. Further, as hardware and material, sports equipment and recreation apparel are central to C.A.S.A.’s success, we are grateful for financial, and in-kind support from local businesses, such as: Harris Rebar, Academy Sports Turf, Omni Development Corporation, GH Phipps, Rio Grande CO, Altitude Steel and Extra Building Materials.
There are many partnerships being developed with leading businesses and community organizations throughout the Denver area. These partnerships will allow C.A.S.A.’s mission to reach more inner city youth in the near future.
History is written in the course of each and every day. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO ALL THE WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS who have made C.A.S.A. a resounding success. The organization would not shine were it not for the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. From our coaches, to those who lead classes, work on the construction and material efforts, clean our facilities, set up the fields, and so much more — your support is never overlook, but always recognized, noted and very much appreciated. On behalf of the kids who benefit from your efforts, THANK YOU!!