Ropin’ in the Fun: CASE for Kids Celebrate Partners at End-of-Year Event

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May 10, 2023 by HCDE Communications

The CASE for Kids team was all smiles at the division’s end-of-year celebration to recognize out-of-school-time partners and afterschool staff at various CASE-funded sites.

To view the photo gallery and download photos, click here.

At the rodeo-themed event, participants gathered around a “campfire” in a reflection exercise where they shared program success stories. Others discussed how to bridge the gaps between their services and students while working together to assemble Old West-style structures. The fun-filled, relaxed environment allowed youth service providers to play and engage organically.

During the celebration, CASE for Kids Director Lisa Caruthers, Ph.D., delivered the State of Afterschool address and introduced the digital badging platform LevelUp, which is expected to launch in Sept. 2023. The comprehensive platform will serve as a digital portal where the out-of-school-time community can connect, and providers can share enrichment content for students and programs.

“This work will allow us to recognize our students’ accomplishments and better understand the landscape of students across Houston,” said Caruthers. “We will be able to see what kids are doing and where they are getting information from, compile the numbers, and use that data to help raise money for afterschool programs.”

CASE for Kids Site Coordinator Keanda Fuller poses with colleague after winning the Director’s Award.

Caruthers also presented the Director’s Award to CASE for Kids Site Coordinator Keanda Fuller for her outstanding commitment and service to the program and Harris County students.  

Every year, the division recognizes community partners for their work with CASE for Kids. The following Spirit of Excellence Afterschool Awards were given out during the celebration:

Outstanding Leadership by an Afterschool Site Coordinator: Quetzaly Harper with the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA)

Outstanding Achievement by an Afterschool Frontline Staff Member: Noah Cedric Nelson with American Robotics Academy

Outstanding Leadership by an Afterschool Provider Supervisor: Nadine Herrera with NewSpring

Outstanding Achievement by an Afterschool Provider Frontline Staff Member: Patricque Kisindja with Houston reVision

Outstanding Leadership by an Afterschool Administrator: Dipen Bhakta with U.S. Dream Academy

Community Connection Champion: A.I.R. Project (Abuse Is Real), Community Family CentersInnovative Practices Champion: The Woods Project, Coding with a Twist

To learn more about CASE for Kids, visit

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