December 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


The Season of Giving



Gathering with friends and family during the holidays is a tradition most of us take for granted. But for so many of the children served by CASA, the holidays provide a painful reminder that they are different from their peers - separated from parents, siblings, pets and close friends as they reside in foster care and other safe placements to shield them from further abuse and/or neglect. Tears are shed for past traumas, a lost sense of security and stability, the pain of separation, and the uncertainty of the future.


It's not a question of where they will go for Christmas, New Year or Hanukkah, it's a question of where they will live during their remaining days of childhood and who will be there to comfort them through the traumas and celebrate with them the joys of everyday life.


As these children and youth wait for safe, permanent homes via adoption or a return to parents who are struggling to remain sober, employed, and drug-free, the holidays can be a lonely time.


Fortunately, this is often a time when many caring members of our community step forward to offer their help. It is this outpouring of concern and generosity that makes me particularly thankful during this holiday season. Just when our staff and volunteers are overwhelmed by the tragic reality of new abuse and neglect cases in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties, and the increased needs for clothing assistance and other support for our CASA children and youth, the phone rings or my email inbox reveals a caring individual or group ready to extend a helping hand.  This meaningful support is what makes our community special.  Your financial donations to CASA, your in-kind contributions, your volunteer hours, and your creative and meaningful offers to share your time and resources truly make a difference.  


With your help, we are making a difference one child at a time. As you gather with your loved ones this holiday season, please remember that your generosity is truly appreciated, and your diverse gifts are providing hope for the children in need of care served by our dedicated CASA volunteers. Your contributions of time and money exemplify the heart of giving, and we are thankful.


Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season,


Norma Castilla-Blackwell 

2013 Recapped

CASA Celebrates Another Successful Year

to see a slideshow of CASA's memorable moments from 2013. 

Note: Slideshow will only partially play on mobile devices.  


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, January 8th - Noon  


  San Marcos CASA office 

Wednesday, January 15th - Noon

Schertz - GVEC Community Room


Thursday, January 9th - Noon


Seguin - GVEC Community Room 


Friday, January 10th - 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
Hays County Sheriff Donates to CASA


CASA of Central Texas received a generous donation from the Hays County Sheriff. The HCSO continues its support of CASA that started many years ago with Don Montague.

Executive Director Norma Castilla-Blackwell accepts a donation presented by Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler.
New Volunteers

CASA's Newest Class Ready for Cases

  The final class of volunteers for 2013 was sworn in at the Advocate Appreciation Mixer on December 14th.

Pictured (l-r):  
District Judge Bruce Boyer,  
Sara Underwood of Hays County,
Nancy Yantis of Caldwell County,
Jane Bowen of Comal County,
Ana Palacios of Hays County,
District Judge Jack Robison

Also part of the new volunteer class were Bob Grafe of Guadalupe County and Alexandria Roberts of Hays County.

Pictured l-r: Bob Grafe, CASA Board President JoAnne Germer, District Judge Robison.  
Alexandria Roberts being sworn in by Judge Melissa McClenahan.
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.

Jeannette Sheridan, CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2003


New Braunfels CASA office


January 15th to February 12th  


1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  



San Marcos CASA office


January 18th to February 8th
8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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


For more information on becoming a volunteer, click here.
Toy Drive Recap

CASA's Toy Drive for Children  


Every year, CASA of Central Texas does a toy drive that provides gifts to the children in foster care.  Each child fills out a wishlist and people sponsor a child and commit to getting them a gift.

This year, we were able to provide gifts to more than 260 children with the help of over 70 community members and organizations.

There are several organizations that have been a part of the success of the toy drive for many years, including Buda United Methodist Church, the Girl Scouts of New Braunfels and the Wing Society.

The Pan American Golf Association holds a tournament every year at the Quail Creek Country Club.  The proceeds from the tournament are donated to the toy drive as well as any toys collected by the organization's members.

Eric Lee of the Quail Creek Country Club sent an email and said that despite chilling temperatures, the tournament was a success with 34 golfers competing and several members dropping toys off. 

We also ask volunteers to help wrap, label and sort gifts. We want to thank those that took time from their evenings to help us, especially the Girl Scouts of New Braunfels and FACES (Foster Care Alumni Creating Educational Success) of TSU.

Thank you to everyone that participated and made it possible for us to do something special for the children we serve.  


Holiday Fundraiser

1st Annual Photos with Santa Station 
CASA held its first Photos with Santa station on December 14th and 21st at the McKenna Children's Museum in New Braunfels.
The fundraiser was coordinated by CASA board member Susie Russell.  A special thanks to everyone that helped provide a wonderful experience this holiday season for the children in the community.  
Get Your Tickets

2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Tickets Available

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl coordinators are once again offering free tickets to CASA of Central Texas. Advocates are encouraged to take children on their cases to the game if they are interested in sports, or request tickets for their placement so they may attend together.

There are approximately 15 tickets remaining,
on a first-come first-serve basis.  


Advocate John Nutting with his CASA child at a previous U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game.


Game Details:

What: The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is an East versus West showdown that features the top 90 high school football players from across the country and the nation's top 125 high school marching musicians who perform during half-time. 


When: January 4th, 2014, noon


Where: Alamodome, Downtown San Antonio  



If you are interested in requesting tickets for you and your child or their placement, please contact Jerret Swierc by e-mail or at 512.256.0044.

Volunteer Voices

Rosa Hernandez was recognized at the 2013 Texas CASA Conference for 16 years of advocacy.

Making a Difference 
When Rosa Hernandez moved to Lockhart in 1989, her daughter began to make friends.

"As I met the mothers of these children I would hear of problems with their husbands and boyfriends and how they were being treated."

Rosa wanted to help the children in these situations, and saw an article in the paper recruiting CASA volunteers in Caldwell County.

"That's when I decided to apply, because I wanted to help some of these children and their mothers learn how to better protect themselves."

Rosa continues to advocate for children, and she also recruits volunteers at the state and national levels.

"To this day, I have not regretted a single minute I spend working with the children."


News for Volunteers

Mileage Reimbursement for Long-Distance Travel

  Texas CASA received a grant that allows local programs to submit mileage reimbursement requests for volunteers that must travel long distances (over 100 miles one-way) to visit their CASA children.


For more information or to see if you qualify, please contact our office at 830.626.2272. 

Social Media

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

We have been on social media for a few years, but this year we are increasing our online efforts and we need your help.

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

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 Volunteer and Development Assistant Jerret Swierc at (830) 626-2272 or by email.

Upcoming Events


8th-      Voices Tour, noon
             New Braunfels CASA office
9th-      Voices Tour, noon
             Schertz GVEC Community Room

10th-    Voices Tour, noon
             Seguin GVEC Community Room

15th-    Voices Tour, noon
             San Marcos CASA office

15th-    Training Begins, 1 pm - 5 pm
             New Braunfels CASA office

18th-    Training Begins, 8:30 am - 1:30 pm
             San Marcos CASA office

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Phone: 830-626-2272

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