Announcements
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Greetings!  This month CASA of San Benito County will be honoring our advocates and volunteers at the 3rd Annual CASA Volunteer Appreciation. These are the wonderful people who give their time, wisdom, kindness, love and support unselfishly to foster children from our community. 

I recently came across a description of volunteers that depicts the essence of the incredible individuals I am so fortunate to work with:
"Volunteers are just ordinary people with extraordinary hearts. They offer the gift of time to teach, to listen, to help, to inspire, to build, to grow, to learn. They expect no pay, yet the value of their work knows no limit. They've known the unexpected joy of a simple hug. They've planted tiny seeds of love in countless lives. Volunteers are just ordinary people who reach out and take a hand & together make a difference that lasts a lifetime."

Thank you CASA volunteers, you are an invaluable partner in the work we do!

Warm regards,
Esther Curtice, Executive Director
2016 Spring Advocate Training Class

CASA is in need of volunteers to become advocates for foster children from our community. As a CASA, you will become the voice for a foster child, looking out for their best interest, ensuring their basic needs are met, and most importantly have a caring, reliable adult to depend on. The Spring Advocate Training Session starts soon, visit www.casasanbenito.org or call us at (831) 637-4992 today!
CASA Success Stories

After spending nearly 4 years in foster care, one young man has recently been provided with legal guardianship and exited the foster care system this past week. "I have been a CASA for this young man for the past 2.5 years," shares his advocate, "It hasn't always been easy; over a very short period of time he had been moved to 3 different placements. His academics had taken a nose-dive and he had behavioral challenges stemming from many years of instability and inconsistency. Despite the set-backs, he has always been a pleasure to be around. Our favorite activities included playing catch and visiting the local fro-yo shop. During these past few months, his grades and behavior have improved greatly, allowing him to participate in sports; his life's passion! Additionally, the family he is currently living with have decided to pursue legal guardianship, providing him with the permanency every child deserves.
"I recently received a holiday card from my CASA child, and wanted to share it with you: 'Dear [Advocate], Don't get me started on you, [Advocate]. I think you are one of the coolest person I meet and its going to stay like that forever. I love you so much. You were their when I need you. I think you are one of the best casa advocates out their. P.S. I love you, [CASA Child]' Becoming an advocate has been one of the most personally rewarding experiences I've had. I highly encourage anyone interested in making a difference in a child's life join CASA and become that one, reliable adult a foster child can count on in their time of need."
Welcome, New Advocates!

This past November, six new community members were sworn in as CASA advocates. Pictured (left to right): Esther Curtice (CASA), Wendy Shepherd, Angie Partida, Hon. Judge Steven Sanders, Monica Rodriguez, Crystal Sanchez, Adele Coyle, and Kathi Bailey. Congratulations!
Welcome, New Directors!
We are honored to welcome and introduce the newest Directors to our Board: Bill Healy, Ashley Holtz, Ann Ross, and Rohit Sharma. Read more below:
Bill Healy

Together my wife and I moved to Hollister in the fall of 2007 to be closer to our family and grandchildren. After spending 40 years in the grocery business, I retired in 2010, allowing me to focus on being an active grandfather and  community member. Most recently, I have been involved with the  Sacred Heart and St. Benedict parishes as Pastoral President,  and a member of the San Benito County Grand Jury. In June of 2015 I rejoined the workforce in the nonprofit sector, accepting the role of Retreat Director for Saint Francis Retreat Center. I am proud to be a part of CASA of San Benito County; I strongly believe in the work this organization does for the foster children from our community.
Ashley Holtz

I am currently the HR Administrator at Teknova, with over six years of professional Human Resources experience at different levels, including three years with an educational non-profit organization, as well as over eight years in supervisory/management roles. Additionally, I have obtained an AA in Communications, and a BA in Philosophy. For  as far back as I can recall, I  have always been involved with volunteer work in one fashion or another; working with children in various capacities.   I am excited to have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for CASA of San Benito County and provide unique and creative insights from well over fifteen years of volunteer experience, and a strong desire to help others.
Rohit Sharma
 
I was born in Calcutta, India, and have been fortunate to have traveled all over the world which has given me an appreciation for different social norms and business cultures. After graduating from UCSB with a BA in Psychology in 1996, I became a resident of San Benito County and am currently a real estate broker, investor and property manager with properties in three counties. My most recent community involvement includes serving on the San Benito County Civil Grand Jury for two terms as County Committee Chair and Pro Tem and serving on the Measure E Oversight Committee. Additionally,  I am  a member of the local council of LULAC and currently serving  on the board of directors for Benitolink.
Ann Ross

I've been a Hollister resident for 14 years. Raising my three children in our community, I became increasingly interested in San Benito County's culture, events, people and issues facing its citizens. I came to realize that my leadership and management experience could be an asset to our county. My experience includes my education, achieving a Bachelor's Degree in Economics, an MBA in Finance from SUNYA and a Master's of Science, Management from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA. Now I wish to serve my community and apply my experience to assist SBC citizens. CASA is a valuable vehicle assisting our community's children and I am very happy to be a part of their contributions as a Board Member. 
In Memory of Lois Golobic

Lois Golobic was a dedicated supporter of CASA of San Benito County, first joining as an advocate in 2008, then as an Advisory Board member, and a Director on the Board in 2013. Lois was also actively involved on the Events Committee, assisting with CASA's fundraising efforts.
She was a passionate woman with a heart of gold, a lways had a kind word and a smile to share. Lois cared deeply about our community and those in need of a helping hand. She will be missed dearly by many.  If you would like to make a gift to CASA in memory of Lois,  please donate here.
2015 National Philanthropy Day Honoree

CASA of San Benito County was pleased to honor Pat Riley with the 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist Award. Pat has been an advocate with CASA since 2009, serving one particular young man for the past 7 years. Though he recently aged out of foster care at the age of 21 that has not stopped Pat from continuing to go above and beyond the call of duty by ensuring he has the tools and resources for success in life. Thank you Pat, for your generosity of time, commitment, and dedication, not only to this young man, but to CASA and the community. 

Special Recognition

Mirian Martinez, CASA advocate and dedicated community volunteer, served as the keynote speaker during the 2015 National Philanthropy Day dinner.   "I don't believe the spirit of being a volunteer knows color, religion, or borders - it just doesn't discriminate. In light of all the bad in the world, we, as people, genuinely help others because we are caring, compassionate, and loving." A community leader in the making, Martinez exemplifies a young individual who gives back to the community. Congratulations, Mirian! 
Advocate Updates

Dance Class Vouchers

Dance class vouchers are available at the office for CASA youth and their siblings! Flying Colors Dance & Fitness Studio and Sammy's Animation Dance Company offer different styles of dance, so please be sure to check out their websites for schedules of classes. This opportunity has been made possible with the generosity of Sue Redmond and the Hollister Exchange Club.
Arts & Crafts Classes

Mark your calendars, our next arts & crafts class is scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 11 am to 2 pm, location TBD. These classes are open to CASA children, their siblings, and advocates. Please be sure to RSVP by February 3rd if you are planning to attend so we can plan accordingly! 
Classes are made possible in part by a grant received from the Rotary Club of Hollister.
2016 Volunteer Appreciation

This event is to recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication of those striving to better the lives of foster children from our community, as well as those who contribute their time and skills in helping CASA to grow as an organization. Attendance is by invitation only. If you have received an invitation, please be sure to RSVP before April 10, 2016. If you are a volunteer and have not yet received and invitation, please check your spam folder or contact us at (831) 637-4992.
Continuing Education Hours

Don't forget- all advocates are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education each year. This can be achieved by reading books, watching movies, or attending monthly con't ed classes and peer reviews at the office. You can also earn credit by providing transcripts if you are enrolled in relevant courses such as child development, psychology, etc. Click here to view our continuing ed resource list.

Upcoming Classes:
Annual Legal Roundtable Discussion
Presented by Judge Sanders
When: February 17, 2016 from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: CASA office, 829 San Benito St., Ste 200 Hollister, CA 95023
RSVP:  esther@casasanbenito.org or (831) 637-4992
Food For Thought

New California legislation, AB 403, is designed to comprehensively reform placement and treatment options for youth in foster care. The bill also advances California's long-standing goal to move away from the use of long-term group home care by increasing youth placement in family settings and by transforming existing group home care into places where youth who are not ready to live with families can receive short term, intensive treatment. The measure creates a timeline to implement this shift in placement options and related performance measures.  Click here for more information and details regarding AB 403.
Upcoming Events


CASA of San Benito County
829 San Benito St., Ste 200 Hollister, CA 95023
P. (831) 637-4992   F. (831) 637-5278   www.casasanbenito.org
CASA is funded in part by grants from: