August 2013  

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


Improving the System


     CASA volunteers are busy not only advocating for the children on their cases, but also to improve the lives of children all over Texas.

Our local program, along with programs across the state, partner with Texas CASA and uses the experiences of our volunteers to make recommendations to our state legislators on how the child welfare system should be improved.


     Texas CASA reported that during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session, several bills were passed that will lead to better care for our children while they navigate the foster care system. These bills aim to strengthen CASA advocacy for children, improve the quality of foster care for children, improve mental health services for children in the state's legal custody, improve Child Protective Services management and performances, improve educational outcomes for children in CPS custody and improve court system response to domestic violence in CPS cases.


     These needed improvements were brought to light through CASA volunteers visiting with their local legislators and sharing their first-hand experiences from their time advocating for the children on their cases. I would like to personally thank all of my volunteers who came to meet with our local legislators, wrote letters and in other ways made efforts to make sure our children were not being overlooked.


     I would also like to thank our local legislators who each took time to meet with our volunteers:  State Representatives Jason Isaac, Tim Kleinschmidt, John Kuempel and Doug Miller; and State Senators Judith Zaffirini and Donna Campbell. I know their time in Austin is limited, but they showed compassion toward our children each time they invited our volunteers into their offices or came to ours.


     We must all continue our collaborative efforts, CASA volunteers who work tirelessly and our legislators who choose to listen, for the benefit of children who have already suffered so much trauma.     




Norma Castilla-Blackwell 

Welcome New Volunteer Advocates

New Advocates Ready for Cases

New CASA volunteers sworn in on August 22nd and 23rd.

Pictured l-r:
Janice Hooper of Hays County,
Phyllis Mundahl of Hays County,
Judge Brenda Smith

Pictured l-r:

James Gibson of Caldwell County

Jennifer Hine of Hays County

Darcie Ivey of Hays County

Kathleen Schindler of Comal County

Judge Karin Bonicoro

Songa Ploeger of Hays County

Monica Combs of Hays County

Katie Polcyn of Guadalupe County

Gary Aalen of Hays County  

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

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

Nancy Deckard CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2005


New Braunfels CASA office


September 11th to October 9th


1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 


San Marcos CASA office


September 10th to October 8th
4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

September 12th to October 10th
  9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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


More on becoming a volunteer here.
What is a CASA volunteer? Watch this video to see how we speak up for children.
What is a CASA volunteer?  
Watch this video to see how we speak up for children.
Volunteer Voices

Bill Raissle
Bill Raissle, CASA Volunteer since 2012. 
Meaningful Involvement 

Following retirement in 2011, Bill Raissle wanted to find meaningful involvement that would drive change in his community.


"I wanted to devote my retired-life time to seeing what I could do to help in some way."


Bill read a CASA street banner with an invitation to call and learn more about the organization, and that is exactly what he did. Bill is currently serving on his first case he was appointed to in December 2012.


"I love working on behalf of the two kids I advocate for. One of my kids gave me a plastic silver medal that you'll see me wearing anytime I have my CASA badge on. I'm very proud of it. "


In addition to being a volunteer advocate, Bill leads CASA's volunteer-based Community Outreach Committee tasked with increasing recruitment and public awareness about CASA.


"We have had some small successes and look forward to really making a difference as we go."

Coaches for CASA

Rivals on the Field,
Coming Together for CASA

Tune in to New Braunfels Radio to hear local high school football coaches Larry Hill of Smithson Valley High School, Chuck Caniford of New Braunfels High School and Matt Elliott of Canyon High School encourage men to join in the fight against child abuse by volunteering with CASA. 
CASA of Central Texas Coaches for CASA
Listen to the PSA here.

The three coaches recorded a PSA which is currently airing on KNBT 92.1 F.M. and KGNB 1420 A.M.
Save the Date


State Rep Kuempel
State Rep. John Kuempel, CASA 2013 Honoree 

CASA's Superstar Talent Showcase

Honoring State Representative John Kuempel.  


Join CASA for an evening of fun, food and drinks, live music and entertainment.   

Thursday, November 7, 2013
6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Texas Agricultural and Heritage Center- Big Red Barn
390 Cordova Road
Seguin, Texas 78155

Tickets available online in September.


Continuing Education


Upcoming Training for CASA Volunteers

Come out for a free continuing education seminar hosted by CASA
and the Hays Caldwell Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Kids and Drugs:
Information for families and youth services workers. 
Monday, September 23, 2013
Presentation: 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Discussion: 8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
1st Lockhart National Bank Meeting Room
120 West San Antonio
Lockhart, TX 78644
Presenter: Denise Contreras, MSW
Prevention Specialist for HCCADA

Please RSVP to DeAnna Curcio, (512) 392-3578 

Space is limited.


Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education annually 

CASA Custom Note Cards


Art from the Heart 



The winners of the Art from the Heart project for the Wing Society have been selected. The five pictures, drawn by CASA children, will be featured as a set of 10 greeting cards in a gift box.  




     The cards will be available for a $10 donation benefiting the Wing Society as they support CASA.  Cards will be available at the next social on September 28th.  



Save the Date
Paint with a Purpose to Benefit CASA

Participants will paint this "Bluebonnet Sunset".

      Join us for a night of fun and express your creative side as you Paint with a Purpose. The host company, Painting with a Twist, is generously donating 50% of the proceeds to CASA of Central Texas.



DATE & TIME: September 15, 2013 from 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m
LOCATION: 1551 N Walnut Ave #20 New Braunfels, TX 78130
CONTACT: DeAnna Curcio,  
PRICE: $40. Includes supplies and snacks. Bring your own drinks.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Reserve your spot now by cash, check, or money order to DeAnna Curcio or click here to register online.  

EVENT PAGE: Click here to join the Facebook event page.   

Wing Society Social


Advocates get to know each other at a
Wing Society Social.
Save the Date

All advocates are invited to attend the next Wing Society social!     

Wing Society Fall Fiesta
Saturday, September 28, 2013 
 Rotunda of the Hays County
Court House-San Marcos 
 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 

Mexican finger food will be provided. Invitations will be in the mail early September for you to RSVP to the Wing Society.
Don't miss this fun event!

Upcoming Information Sessions
 casa 25

CASA can also
bring these information
sessions to you,
just give us a call!
You are Invited to a CASA Voices Tour
Learn about CASA and the work our advocates are doing in the community.  Join us on the 1st and 2nd Wednesdays of each month for a one-hour "virtual" tour of our mission.  Open to everyone, bring your friends, family and colleagues and we will provide lunch! 


 New Braunfels CASA office 


Wednesday, September 4th - Noon
Wednesday, October 2nd - Noon 



San Marcos CASA office 

Wednesday, September 11th - Noon  
Wednesday, October 9th - Noon



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

Please RSVP to Ali Wilkinson by e-mail or at 830-626-2272.
Community Support
Promote CASA at Your Business

Thank you to the following organizations and businesses for displaying CASA brochures in their buildings:

Broadway Bank 
Canyon Lake Animal Clinic 
Victor's Personal Training Center 

CASA of Central Texas is looking for more volunteers and you can help.

If you can display our CASA banner or brochures in your place of business to help recruit more volunteers, please contact Community Relations Coordinator Eloise Hudson at (830) 626-2272 or by email.

Upcoming Events


4th-       Voices Tour, noon

              New Braunfels CASA office

10th-     Advocate Training Begins, 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
              San Marcos CASA office

11th-     Advocate Training Begins, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office

11th-     Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

12th-     Advocate Training Begins, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
              San Marcos CASA office

15th-     Paint with a Purpose, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
              Painting with a Twist Studio - New Braunfels

28th-     Wing Society Fall Fiesta, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
              Rotunda of the Hays County Court House - San Marcos


              New Braunfels CASA office

7th-       Permanency Luncheon, 11:30 - 1 p.m.
              Mamacitas, San Marcos            

       Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

22nd-    Advocate Training Begins, 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office
23rd-     Advocate Training Begins, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.              
San Marcos CASA office

24th-     Advocate Training Begins, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office


6th-       Voices Tour, noon
             New Braunfels CASA office

7th-       CASA's Superstar Talent Showcase
             Big Red Barn, Seguin

20th-     Voices Tour, noon
             San Marcos CASA office

Stay Connected! 

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Phone: 830-626-2272

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