CASA Up Close | January 2021
Welcome to another edition of CASA Up Close Monthly. Please feel free to contact CASA for more information about anything you read. And, as always, thank you for your continued support! Use these quick links to get involved.
In this Issue
  • Information Sessions - by Zoom!
  • Training Dates - by Zoom!
  • Invite CASA to Your Speaker Program
  • CASA Yard Signs
  • Champions fore Charity
  • Goodbye Kayla
  • Payroll Deductions
  • Child Abuse Prevention Training
  • Top Honors
  • Community Support
  • Events Benefiting CASA
Letter from the Executive Director
Service to Others - A Noble Mission

Mother Teresa was known for saying, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” As we enter the new year with hope in our hearts, I pray for peace in the world, in our country, for our neighbors and for our children. 

Back in July of 2019, CASA of Central Texas began our FY 2019-20 on a high note and could not have predicted the considerable cliff hanger the year ended on. As this past year unfolded, the critical role that CASA holds in the community was continuously reinforced. Now, as we are well into our next fiscal year 2020-21, we’re moving full steam ahead in our goal to provide a trained Court Appointed Special Advocate to every child in foster care.

The year started with a wonderful string of flourishing fundraising events. For the first time ever, we sold out of sponsorships and team spots to the 2019 Corridor Title – CASA Classic Golf Tournament. In addition, numerous donors generously gave through our 2019 End-of-Year campaign, doubling the amount we received in gifts the year before. We were absolutely thrilled by these individual outcomes and our excitement rolled over into 2020,as we prepared to celebrate 35 years of advocating for abused and neglected children on March 13.

However, the festivities became overshadowed with the onset of Covid-19. Life as we knew it completely changed. Our program swiftly pivoted in order to serve children and families in a different way. We launched virtual casework meetings, court hearings, mediations and trials – and accepted new cases every week as the number of children entering State Care continued to rise. We also forged ahead offering virtual community information sessions with increased frequency and virtual pre-service volunteer training classes.

During this time, we maintained a volunteer retention rate of 92%. Our outstanding CASA volunteers did not waver in their devotion to the children they serve. Because of their committed support, children were not susceptible to further social and emotional isolation and retraumatization. CASA staff and volunteers rose to many challenges brought on by the pandemic. But, our ultimate challenge came when we had to cancel our April 2020 dinner and auction - which was expected to be our most successful fundraising event of the year.

Nonetheless, we received an influx of support from the community not only in donations, but sweet messages of appreciation and admiration for the difference CASA makes in the community. We look forward to connecting with our friends again, once it is safe to host the grand opening of our newly constructed Training & Support Center. We now have a new permanent home base in Hays County, thanks to your phenomenal support! We dedicate our San Marcos Daily Record win as the 2019 Best Non-profit Organization to everyone who championed our mission. Together, we will make it through this turbulent time and emerge stronger than ever!

To read more and to see data about our cases and volunteers, see our Annual Impact Report FY19-20 HERE.
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director
CASA of Central Texas
Information Sessions Online
Want to learn more about the role of a CASA Volunteer?

Join our 30-minute information session and hear how our volunteers advocate for children who have been abused and neglected.

Just pick a time that works for you and use the link to join us on Zoom!
If these times don't work for you, contact Eloise Hudson and she can do a 1-1 with you at your convenience!
Meeting times:

10 a.m.

5 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays
Use this link to join us at any of the times above!

Become a CASA Volunteer in 2021
Advocate Training Courses
Held online via zoom

February 17 to March 17
5 pm – 8 pm

February 18 to March 18
1 pm – 4 pm

Application deadline prior to each cycle is two weeks before start of training.

One-hour pre-training interview to occur at least one week before start of each training cycle. Mandatory 10-hour online class to be completed during the training cycle.

For more information on training courses, contact Brandi Raschke at 512-392-3578, 830-626-2272, or by email.
Invite CASA to your Speaker Program
Are you planning your programs for your 2021 organization meetings? Need a speaker? CASA has you covered!

Invite CASA to be your program speaker and learn about child abuse trends in the community, and how CASA volunteers are getting involved.

A CASA representative would be happy to attend your meeting to speak for 10 minutes or 30 minutes, whatever meets your program's needs!

Contact Eloise Hudson if you are interested in having CASA share with your group.
Still meeting virtually? Not a problem! CASA can also join your video conference meeting, too!
CASA Yard Signs
Show your support for CASA right in your own front yard or place of business! CASA yard signs are now available! Help us spread the word!

If you know someone in your neighborhood or circle of friends who would like one, grab a handful!

To pick up a CASA of Central Texas yard sign, please email Eloise at
Fundraising fore CASA
If you’re looking to make a bigger difference in the community, look no further! A truly special fundraising opportunity for CASA, Champions fore Charity distributes not only 100% of the funds raised through their program but also offers a 7% match back! By donating to CASA through Champions fore Charity, you’ll make it even more possible for us to provide abused and neglected children with a CASA Volunteer!
Champions fore Charity is a fundraising program that provides charities, like CASA, and schools the opportunity to generate contributions through the Valero Texas Open. Last year, they raised an outstanding $6.386M! They’re currently on track to meet their goal of $7M with your help. The Valero Texas Open takes place March 29 to April 4, 2021, but CASA’s giving page is open now! Become a champion by giving today!
Thank you and Good luck, Kayla
Kayla Kostella came to us for an internship last Fall from the McCoy School of Business at Texas State University.

This incredible Bobcat was tasked with a job that few people would take on – but she fearlessly tackled it with patience and amazing attention to detail! Over three months, she completed various aspects of records management including scanning, completing quality review, and archiving two years of paper files (twice as much as she was asked) to improve easy-access to our grant documents and to reduce physical storage space.

She also assisted with facilities operations including setting up the file room in our new Training & Support Center, and she was instrumental in completing our holiday direct mail campaign. She helped at our annual golf tournament and was always, always willing to help with anything needed!

In December, Kayla earned her BBA in Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. She is moving back to her hometown of Victoria so, if any of our readers are looking to hire, she’s a great job candidate! Kayla shared that she loved working at CASA with our amazing staff. Thank you, Kayla! We miss you already!
Payroll Deductions

Federal employees may donate to CASA of Central Texas through payroll deductions under the Combined Federal Campaign.

Watch for campaign drives at your office, or talk to your Human Resources Representative for information!
CFC logo
Combined Federal Campaign
CASA of Central Texas
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training

Child sexual abuse is an adult issue. One in 10 children in the U.S. will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Darkness to Light ® believes that adults are responsible for the safety of children and that adults should be taking proactive steps to protect children from sexual abuse.

Using an evidence-informed approach, attendees will be provided with simple and practical actions to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. This is a free training for any community member who has interactions with children in various community settings. We should strive to not only protect our own children, but all children in our community.
This training will be offered by an authorized facilitator on the fourth Friday of each month starting in 2021. If the fourth Friday does not work for you, you may schedule a different date. Please encourage your colleagues, friends, and family to attend this two-hour training with you as it will lead to an improved learning experience through impactful discussion.
Top Honor
CASA of Central Texas has been honored with a Top-Rated Award for 2020 from GreatNonprofits!

"The GreatNonprofits seal is the second most trusted rating seal, after the Better Business Bureau" - Study by Software Advice.

Read inspiring stories about us and add your own!
Community Support

120 N95 masks were donated by Serve San Marcos, a program of United Campus Ministries at Texas State University - many thanks for your generosity! Masks were immediately distributed to CASA advocates and staff in December.

Pictured with Tricia Schneider (CASA development director) are Emily (current student) and Jonathan (recent grad).
Photographer: Rev. Todd Salmi 
Events Benefiting CASA

CASA of Central Texas welcomes community initiatives to help promote awareness and funding for our program. By taking on this type of project, event organizers assume the responsibility of creating a successful event without a significant level of assistance from CASA. All special events and fundraising efforts conducted to benefit CASA are run by financially responsible and reputable organizations and individuals motivated by a genuine desire to help CASA. If you are interested in hosting a third-party fundraiser to benefit CASA, please review these guidelines.
CASA of Central Texas, Inc. | 830-626-2272 | |