MARCH 2021
CASAs, we are so thankful for you. In the midst of a challenging year, you have persevered to make a difference in the lives of children in Tippecanoe County. We appreciate your dedication. Thank you for changing a child's story.
Under the Surface: Addressing Implicit Bias through the Lends of Social and Emotional Learning

When: March 9 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom
Who: Brian Dinkins, Center for Empowering Education, Inc.
What: In this session, you will:
  • Practice strategies for disrupting and reducing implicit bias.
  • Learn prevention strategies with SEL practices.
  • Engage in examples, research, and stories that bring light to the impact of implicit bias in our work.
Developing an Emotionally-Inclusive (Virtual) Classroom Using SEL for Students Traumatized by Covid-19 

When: March 10 from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom
Who: Brian Dinkins, Center for Empowering Education, Inc.
What: In this session, you will:
  • Learn the components of emotional intelligence/social-emotional learning (SEL).
  • Build emotional regulation, resilience, self-management.
  • Gain insight into the links between trauma, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Learn strategies to respond to the student's needs.
Advancing Equity Summit

When: March 18 from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Where: Online
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Monique W. Morris, Executive Director, Grantmakers for Girls of Color
National experts will address barriers to equity. The actionable tools and models will help increase opportunity and access for all Indiana children and youth. Conversation topics you can take part in include:

  • Immigration
  • Racial Justice
  • LGBTQ+
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Disability Services
  • School Discipline
  • Digital Divide
  • Mental Health
40 Developmental Assets Training

When: May 11 from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom
Who: Indiana Youth Institute
What: Based on research by the Search Institute, the 40 Developmental Assets are a series of positive experiences and qualities that help young people develop and thrive. The Developmental Assets represent the relationships, opportunities and personal qualities that young people need to make positive choices, avoid risks and become caring, responsible adults. 
Interpersonal Relationships The Virtual Shift

When: March 16 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Zoom

Who: Mark Frederick holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. He is a retired faculty member with dual appointments in the department of educational leadership, teaching, and learning and the department of counselor education. Mark taught courses on educational leadership, research methods and techniques, and he provided dissertation support for doctoral students.

What: This training will focus on fundamental skill-building of CASA volunteers in managing relationships, especially in the time of COVID-19. Using techniques rooted in contemporary psychological theories and models, participants will understand effective verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening and intentional interviewing, and improve problem-solving strategies that facilitate purposeful communication with others.
Mental Health 101

When: April 15 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Zoom

Who: dianna Huddleston is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Ball State University and Indiana University, respectively.

She has been very active within community mental health in Indiana for more than 20 years and is Aspire Indiana's Director of Comprehensive Services Hamilton, Boone, and Marion Counties.

What: In this session, you will:

  • Learn about child and adolescent development and functioning.
  • Understand how trauma may impact that development and functioning.
  • Understand common child and adolescent mental health diagnoses.
  • Learn strategies to deal effectively with youth displaying symptoms of these diagnoses.
Addiction as a Disease

When: April 22 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Zoom

Who: Dr. Ben Wilson has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision and an MS in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University, as well as a BGS from Indiana University. He has been providing services in various mental health and substance use disorder treatment settings including inpatient, residential, outpatient, recovery high school, and community mental health since 2006. Dr. Wilson is a nationally certified counselor (NCC), as well as a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and licensed clinical addiction counselor (LCAC) in Indiana. Dr. Wilson is the Manager of Addiction Services in Hamilton County for Aspire Indiana Health. Dr. Wilson is also an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University and Indiana Wesleyan University. 

What: Addiction can lead to various behaviors and outcomes, but what leads to addiction in the first place? In this training, learn what causes addiction. Understand why addiction is classified as a disease, rather than willful behavior. Ben J. Wilson will present peer-reviews and scholarly information to discuss the disease model of addiction, best practices for treatment, the process of recovery, and how to reduce stigma around addiction.

This training is a repeat of Dr. Wilson's session from November 2020.
Purdue Theatre invites Tippecanoe County CASA volunteers to attend their upcoming production, "In the Blood," for free.

This event also qualifies as in-service training hours.
In this radical retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s "The Scarlet Letter," Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks tells the story of Hester La Negrita, a single mother of five children. Living under a bridge and without formal education, Hester strives to support her children and teach them right from wrong. Through a style she labels repetition-and-revision (influenced by her love for jazz and classical music), Parks dramatizes the social and economic conditions that make Hester’s hopes futile. The play is a stinging critique of American culture — and an inescapable call for change.
To register, please click on the date and time you would like to attend. You will receive an email from Purdue Theatre with a link.

Child Abuse Prevention Month
Wear Blue Day
Wear blue on April 1 to bring awareness to child abuse prevention efforts. Consider posting a photo of your blue clothing on social media to let your friends know about Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

Share your photo on April 1 with us by emailing Hannah at
Riehle Plaza Proclamation
This April 5, Tippecanoe County CASA and Tippecanoe Child Abuse Prevention Council will join other community organizations and members to observe the month and honor children. Local dignitaries will speak at the event.

This event is open to everybody. Feel free to bring friends, family, or coworkers who would like to show their support for children! However, to best honor those around us, we ask participants to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Where: Riehle Plaza Lafayette

When: 12 PM on Monday, April 5
Pinwheel Gardens
We will plant pinwheel gardens at local schools. Be on the lookout for them!

If you would like pinwheels to place in your front yard, please email Deanna at or Hannah at
Remembering Leta Kelley
Leta Kelley lived a meaningful, beautiful life. In addition to caring for her family, working as a substitute teacher, and volunteering in her community, she served as a CASA volunteer for 27 years. Leta passed away in January 2021.

Leta began serving as a CASA volunteer in 1991. She trained under Judge Margaret J. Hand, who was the first juvenile court judge in Tippecanoe County. Judge Hand was responsible for bringing the CASA program to the community.

In the early years of the program, only a handful of people volunteered. Ellen Phelps was one such volunteer. She and Leta quickly became friends, and they chose to partner and advocate for children on cases together. This is not a practice that Tippecanoe County CASA employs today. However, it was beneficial to Leta and Ellen, and it anchored their friendship.

“It was wonderful to work with her,” Ellen told us. “Partly, it was good because if one of us was out of town, the other person could handle anything that came up. But we were also always bouncing ideas off one another.”
Leta, who enjoyed using the computer more, would type their reports. Ellen would sit next to her and dictate. During her 27 years as a CASA, Leta advocated for over 60 children, and she was in favor of keeping in touch with families if they wanted to do so.

Both women saw changes and improvements in the system over the years. Children in Tippecanoe County now spend less time in the system and experience fewer placement changes.

Leta believed that community involvement with the CASA program helped children and helped families in need, Ellen said.

“We built long-term connections together this way,” Ellen said. “As CASAs, people saw us as their mothers, sisters, whatever. Developing those relationships was so important to us. We went and talked to everybody in person, spending time with the child and family and so forth.”

As volunteers, and even after their final case closed, Leta and Ellen enjoyed participating in in-service training sessions, attending local and national CASA conferences, and getting to know the other volunteers. Being CASAs gave Leta numerous contacts in the greater Lafayette community, aiding her other volunteer work. She met many wonderful people in various school systems, therapy offices, service providers, and community partner agencies, Ellen said.

In addition to being a child advocate, Leta drove for Meals on Wheels, helped develop and serve at Lafayette Crisis Center, and was a rotary member. She built homes around the world with Global Village for Habitat, and she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity locally as a family advocate. She also served on the boards of Lafayette Community Foundation, Legal Aid, Food Finders Bank, and Purdue Convocations.

“I wish I could think of the words to describe working with her,” Ellen said. “It was so rewarding. You learn so much from another person’s perspective. She was such an asset to the program and community. She was good at giving continued support to families. I will miss her greatly.” 

Please read Leta's obituary here.
Congratulations to our Partners
Local DCS Worker Recognized as Youth Work Supervisor of the Year:
Congratulations to Ashley Jones!
by Meredith Hackler, WLFI

One local Department of Child Services employee is being honored for her work at a statewide level. Ashley Jones a Tippecanoe County DCS supervisor won Youth Work Supervisor of the Year. The award was presented by the Indiana Youth Services Association. Jones was recognized for her mentorship of other staff and helping create innovative programs. She helped establish a dual-status assessment team for the county.

This group of people helps kids with involvement in juvenile probation who also have a history of abuse and neglect. Jones says helping at-risk youth couldn't be done without teamwork.

"This is one of the most supportive jobs that I have ever been in with the internal side of things,” said Jones. “Although we are kind of under a microscope we do have a lot of outside sources that are very supportive of us and prop us up on the pedestal as well as talk us up."

Read the full story here.

Executive Director of Cary Home for Children Receives Jefferson Award:
Congratulations to Rebecca Humphrey!
by Dave North, Star City News 
Our virtual informational sessions help prospective volunteers learn more about the CASA role. We host these sessions once a month over Zoom.

Elizabeth Dunlap, staff advocate and outreach coordinator, facilitates these events. If you would like more information or would like to invite people you know to a future session, please email Elizabeth at
You can also follow us on Facebook to share the events with your friends and family on social media.

We are working to engage faith communities in our volunteer recruitment efforts.

If you belong to a faith community and would like to connect us with your place of worship, please fill out the following form:
The CASA Program is excited to announce our partnership with Camp Tecumseh’s Annual 5K Fundraising race: Running with Raccoons on Sunday, April 11, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

If you would like to help manage our booth there, please contact Steven at Camp Tecumseh asks that volunteers wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. All runners will be required to wear masks before and after the race.

If you’re interested in running, you can register for the race here. The cost is $20.00/adult and $15.00/youth. 

Whether you run, walk, or watch, join us in supporting Camp Tecumseh’s Running with Raccoons 5K! If you attend, please consider wearing a blue CASA t-shirt.
As always, thank you for all you do for the children in Tippecanoe County. We appreciate your compassion and dedication!