June 2014   

CASA Up Close

Welcome to another edition of CASA Up Close Monthly. Below you will find information about our supporters, upcoming events, training opportunities and more. Please feel free to contact CASA for more information about anything you read. And, as always, thank you for your continued support.

CASA of Central Texas


CASA of Central Texas advocates for abused and neglected
children in the court system by recruiting, training and
supporting community volunteers.

Every child has the right to a safe, nurturing, permanent home.
Letter from the Executive Director


EDAgainst the Odds

     When advocating for children, CASA's goal is to see them placed in safe, permanent homes. This can mean reunification with family or seeing them adopted into a new and loving family. When neither of these options is possible, there is, sadly, another outcome: remaining in foster care until age 18. In this situation, the CASA volunteer serves a unique and important role by helping prepare these young people to become self-sufficient members of the community.


     If you were raised by loving parents, think of everything your parents did to prepare you to be on your own. They probably took you to get your ID or driver's license and made sure you had your Social Security card so you could become employed. They maybe helped you find your first job. They might have helped you open a savings or checking account or taught you how to responsibly manage a credit card. They visited college campuses with you and helped you apply for scholarships. They might have guided you towards a trade school or taught you about the benefits of joining the military.


     For the children CASA works with, there is often no stable voice of encouragement. These young people have grown up just trying to survive their current circumstances. They have had little time or guidance to prepare for their future. How can we now expect them to be ready to live on their own and know how to survive in our vast world?


       This is where CASA can help. The CASA volunteer not only provides these young adults with the necessary emotional encouragement to believe they can succeed, but also gives them guidance while developing from teenager to young adult and seeks out tools and skills-building resources that will increase the chances for a positive future.


       We are very proud of our five CASA youth who successfully completed their high school education this Spring. High school graduation is an achievement for all youth but especially for ours, any one of whom has many excuses to fail. National statistics show that about half of youth in foster care do not earn their high school diploma. Our sincerest congratulations to every one - Adonte, Anna, Anthony, Cristian and Jose. Please honor them by taking a minute to look at the section below to see their pictures and read about their future plans.


     I would also like to thank our advocates who work with these older youth. I truly believe that as our volunteers are providing critically needed support, they are in turn bettering our community.




Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director 

On to the Next Chapter
CASA Youth Earn High School Diplomas

Adonte with his CASA Volunteer John Barthel. 

graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Houston and has requested to stay in the care of the department after he turns 18 in July. He plans to attend Northeast Lakeview College in San Antonio and is interested in auto mechanics and culinary arts. His CASA Volunteer, John Barthel, has been Adonte's advocate for more than three years.

Anna with CASA Supervisor Kimberly Key (left) and retired Associate Judge Karin Bonicoro (right). 
Anna left care at 18 but made the choice to return and finish her high school education. She graduated from Premier High School in Austin to the cheers of over 20 of her supporters including friends, previous caseworkers and placements, the judge that formerly presided over her case, and CASA staff.  Anna works a part-time job and plans to attend ACC.

Anthony with his CASA Volunteer Arthur Wilson.

graduated from Breckenridge High School in San Antonio. He moved to Round Rock to live and work with his brother. His CASA volunteer was Arthur Wilson who advocated for Anthony and his siblings since their case opened in Comal county in 2009.

Cristian with his CASA Volunteer Melissa Burst. 


Cristian graduated from Smithson Valley High School in Bulverde. His CASA volunteer is Melissa Burst and she has been Cristian and his sibling's advocate since 2011. Cristian applied to St. Phillips college in San Antonio and hopes to attend in the fall of 2014.






Jose with his CASA volunteer Jimbo Scarborough. 

graduated from Trinity Charter School. His CASA volunteer, Jimbo Scarborough, has been advocating for Jose for almost two years. Jose applied to Prairie View A&M and to Austin Community College. He wants to be a psychologist and is participating in Prairie View's summer ACCESS program where he attends classes and is introduced to college life.
Endowment Campaign

Keep Your Designated Contributions 
Coming to CASA this Summer
  • For abused and neglected children, summertime can mean increased fear and loneliness. This is no time for us to take a break and forget those children who need us.
  • With every designated dollar you give, it will be matched with another dollar from the McKenna Foundation - your $50 turns into $100, your $250 turns into $500!
  • Your contribution will be held securely so that only the interest on the principal may be withdrawn to support CASA's operational needs.
  • Your contribution will provide stability and longevity for the CASA program so that CASA volunteers can advocate for safety and stability for the children.
  • CASA gives young babies, children and older youth a VOICE in court and HOPE for a successful future.
  • CASA volunteers are the best child and youth advocates in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties! We want to ensure that they can keep doing their valuable work!

To date, we've received $9,540 from 24 donors - thank you! You may make your individual or business donation online today by clicking HERE and typing "Endowment" in the designation box. Or, you may mail a check with "Endowment" in the memo to the CASA office: CASA of Central Texas, 1619 E. Common St., Suite 301, New Braunfels, TX 78130.


"I made my contribution to the CASA Endowment Fund in honor of a young girl that I began advocating for when she was just 11 years old. She was the most frightened and, at the same time, the bravest young person that I had ever met. She had strength, resilience and perseverance. I continued to be her CASA while she "grew up" in foster care and until she turned 18. She is now an independent, responsible young adult and she still stays in touch with me. I'm looking forward to attending her wedding this October!"


Tricia Schneider

CASA Staff

Upcoming Volunteer Trainings
Make a Difference in the life of a child,
become a CASA Volunteer

Help us get the word out about our trainings!
If you know someone who would make a great
CASA volunteer, please share these training dates.

Jeannette Sheridan, CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2003



4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

July 9th through August 6th

New Braunfels office 



1 to 5 p.m.
July 10th through August  7th

San Marcos office 

  To learn more about training sessions, contact Training Coordinator Debbie Haynes at 512-392-3578 or by email.


For more information on becoming a volunteer, click here.
Volunteer Voices
Carol Grimm, CASA volunteer since 2001, with her CASA child from her third case. He was removed at 4 months old after being abused by his mother's boyfriend. Carol still receives updates and Christmas cards from his family.
Make a Difference   

"I retired after 30+ years of teaching, but still wanted to make a difference in the lives of children."

"Big Voices for Little Texans is more than a slogan.  The CASA/Guardian Ad Litem is the only person who truly speaks for the best interests of the children in the State's care."

"To anyone considering becoming a CASA, you will not regret your choice. Make a difference!"
Dedicated to the Children

New Volunteers Ready to Take on a Case


Sworn in on June 27th
Pictured l-r are: Yvonne and Bruce Quenstedt of Comal County,
Betty Wisnosky of Guadalupe County, Judge McClenahan, Doris Davila of Caldwell County, Daysy Silvestre of Hays County, Rodger Barlow of Comal County, Susan Hankins of Hays County, Jacob Lujan of Hays County, and Mariela Davila of Hays County.
Upcoming Information Sessions
Lynette Barker, CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2009

Open to everyone, bring your friends, family and colleagues and we will provide lunch!

CASA can also
bring these information
sessions to you,
just give us a call!

Please RSVP to Eloise Hudson 
by email or at 830-626-2272.

VoicesYou are Invited
to a CASA Voices Tour

Want to learn more about the role of a CASA Volunteer? Join us for one of our upcoming information sessions and get all your questions answered.  


The one-hour session will provide information about CASA and the process in which our volunteers advocate for children who have been abused and neglected. CASA staff and

volunteers will be on hand to answer questions you may have about our program.


New Braunfels  
CASA office
Wednesday, July 2nd - Noon  


 San Marcos 

CASA office 
Wednesday, July 9th - Noon


GVEC Community Room  

Thursday, July 10th - Noon



GVEC Community Room  

Thursday, July 17th - Noon



Lunch provided by Fox's Pizza Den in New Braunfels
and Chick-fil-A in San Marcos.

New Training

Fostering Futures    


Older CASA youth Ben with his CASA Supervisor Tim Judkins. 

    We know that older youth in foster care are facing tough odds as they prepare for their futures (see Executive Director letter above.) While all of our staff supervisors support volunteers who are serving older youth, four years ago, CASA of Central Texas designated one of our supervisors to work exclusively with volunteers and youth age 16 and up. As a result, we have seen many successes such as high school graduations, stable housing and plans to attend college and vocational schools.


     Fostering Futures is the next phase of our focus on older youth ages 14 to 21. A nationwide, grant-funded project under National CASA, all new CASA volunteers will now receive this training as part of their pre-service curriculum and will have the opportunity to request to be part of this special project with this age group. Current CASA volunteers will be offered the Fostering Futures training in an upcoming Continuing Education session and may also request assignments with new youth.

     If there is a special place in your heart for helping older youth build their life skills and prepare for a successful future, please contact Training Coordinator Debbie Haynes at dhaynes@casacentex.org

"Work" for CASA
Support CASA at Your Workplace

There are a number of fun, engaging ways for you and your company to get involved with CASA of Central Texas in your workplace giving.


Employees can promote the CASA mission through their workplaces by participating in different types of giving and awareness activities:

  • Payroll deduction - designate CASA of Central Texas through corporate, state, and federal workplace giving campaigns.
  • Matching Gift Programs - Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match any charitable contributions made by their employees. Check with your Human Resource office to find out if your company has a matching gift policy. 
  • Host an Educational Event - Educate your workforce about CASA and the need for child and youth advocates. Give out brochures, posters and other promotional materials. Invite CASA to give a brief informational presentation. 
  • Participate in one-day and team activities- Volunteer and participate in our annual events such as the Under the Big Top dinner/auction or get a team together for the Superhero 5K Run.  

If you are initiating a new relationship or including CASA of Central Texas in an existing giving campaign, we are eager to work with you. Together, we can look at how to best support your business goals and objectives and bring our programs to your workforce. 


Please contact Tricia Schneider at  tschneider@casacentex.org or call 830-626-2272 to discuss ways to get your employee giving activities started.  

Advocates Get Social

Wing Society Social Brings Advocates Together

CASA of Central Texas Advocates gathered in Canyon Lake on June 20th for the Wing Society Annual Meeting and Social.

Thank you to CASA Executive Director Norma Blackwell and her husband Chris for opening their home.
Wing Society Socials are a chance for CASA volunteers to get to know each other and share experiences.
Members of the Wing Society serve up barbeque for CASA volunteers.

The Wing Society is an auxiliary group whose primary
efforts focus on supporting the caring CASA volunteers who give unselfishly to the abused and neglected children who come into the courts.
Hit the Road with CASA

Order your license plate
CASA License Plates Raise Funds, Awareness


    The Big Voices for Little Texans license plate is available for purchase through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

     A portion of the proceeds from the license plate goes directly to our local CASA program, and last year CASA of Central Texas received more than $1,300 from the program! That is up from less than $500 the first year!

     Help us raise even more funds and get the CASA logo on the road, order your plates today! 
CASA Continuing Education


  Upcoming Training for CASA Volunteers

Darkness To Light
Stewards of Children Training 

Monday, July 28

5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
Children's Advocacy Center of Comal County 
1168 Pride Drive, New Braunfels

Watch a preview for the training here. 

A documentary-based training featuring survivors of child sexual abuse. The training includes videos, a workbook and group discussion to address creating a change in cultural norms to protect children

Please RSVP to Debbie Haynes at 512-392-3578 or by email. 

Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education annually 

Step Right Up

Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased

Under the Big Top 
With CASA 

Friday, September 19, 2014
Texas Agricultural and Heritage Center
Join CASA for an evening of fun, food and drinks, live music and entertainment. Music by Tin Roof.

Honoring Commissioner Greg Seidenberger
and District Attorney Heather McMinn.

Sponsor tables available for $750 and $1,000.
Contact Daysy Silvestre at 830-626-2272 or by email to sponsor this event. 
The Silver Screen



CASA Advertisement to Air in Local Theaters  

Our local movie theaters have begun airing a 30-second CASA PSA as part of a state-wide recruiting campaign through Texas CASA.

Chadwick's Story 
Watch the PSA here 
     The spot began on May 30 and will run for 12 weeks at the Starplex 12 and Showplace 3 in San Marcos, and Creekside Cinemas in New Braunfels. Be watching for it!
5K Fun Run for CASA

For more information or to register, click

Be a Superhero for an Abused Child 
The annual CASA Superhero Run, a 5K and Kids 1K race, features masked and caped runners, a superhero costume contest, family-friendly activities and vendors, and much more!

CASA Superhero Run
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park

CASA volunteers are superheroes, but being a CASA volunteer isn't right for everyone. So, we activate the Bat Signal and encourage everyone to be a superhero for children by participating in the CASA Superhero Run.

This year's event is hosted by CASA of Central Texas, CASA of Travis County, and CASA of Williamson County. Participants will designate which program they would like to support when registering.  Sign up today as an individual or create a super team.

Can't be there that day? You can still register as a virtual runner or team leader!
Social Media

Follow CASA of Central Texas online to get information
and updates throughout the month!

Click the icons to follow us and help spread the word about CASA!

Like us on Facebook           Follow us on Twitter 

View our profile on LinkedIn          View our videos on YouTube

Upcoming Events


     Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

9th-       Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

9th-       New Volunteer Training Begins, 4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office

10th-     New Volunteer Training Begins, 1 - 5 p.m.
              San Marcos CASA office

10th-     Voices Tour, noon
              Schertz GVEC Community Room

17th-     Voices Tour, noon
              Seguin GVEC Community Room

28th-     Advocate Continuing Education, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
              CAC of Comal County, New Braunfels


6th-       Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

13th-     Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office


3rd-       Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

10th-     Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

19th-     Under the Big Top Dinner/Auction
              Texas Agricultural and Heritage Center, Seguin

21st-     CASA Superhero Run
              Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park 

Stay Connected! 

Visit our 

Phone: 830-626-2272

Join our mailing list! 

Make a donation to CASA