CASA Up Close | June 2020
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
  • Welcome New CASA Volunteers
  • Information Sessions - now by videoconference!
  • Training Dates - now by videoconference!
  • CASA Classic
  • CASA Training & Support Center Update
  • Shop for CASA
  • CARS for CASA
  • Events Benefiting CASA
Letter from the Executive Director
June is national Pride Month and CASA is committed to our goal of ensuring that the best interest of children in foster care comes before anything else by providing the highest quality volunteer advocacy possible. To meet this goal, we strive to recruit CASA volunteers of diverse backgrounds and experiences so that they can reflect the diversity of children in the child welfare system in our community.
A disproportionately high number of LGBTQ children and youth are in the child welfare system, many having been abandoned by their families due to their LGBTQ identity. Additionally, research shows that LGBTQ young people who were rejected by parents and caregivers because of their identity face much higher rates of attempted suicide, depression and use of illegal drugs. 

Here are a few reasons why we at CASA of Central Texas believe that celebrating Pride Month is important:

       In everything that we do, CASA stands for the best interests of the children we serve.
       LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, both in Texas and nationwide. In fact, according to a recent study , more than 30% of youth in care identify as LGBTQ , compared to about 11% of the general youth population.
       This disparity is due in large part to the fact that for children, coming out to family members can lead to verbal and physical harassment , abuse and even full-on rejection, making them more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to experience homelessness and/or end up in foster care.
       According to research , compared with LGBTQ young people who were not rejected or were only a little rejected by their parents and caregivers because of their identity, highly rejected LGBTQ young people were:
o    More than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide;
o    Nearly 6 times as likely to report high levels of depression;
o    More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs; and
o    More than 3 times as likely to be at high risk for HIV and STDs.
       Once they are in foster care, LGBTQ youth face all the same challenges and barriers their non-LGBTQ peers face, such as dealing with trauma, placement changes, falling behind in school, mental health challenges and more – but with the added layer of fear of further rejection, abuse and harassment by caregivers if they are open about their LGBTQ identity.
       Being LGBTQ is not a phase, nor is it something that can be changed. According to research by the Family Acceptance Project , children report feelings of same sex attraction as young as age 7 or 9, and some children begin to express gender identity as early as age 2-3. Practices intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are harmful , and have been condemned by every major medical and mental health association.
       Research shows that even just a little change towards being more accepting by parents, foster parents, guardians and caregivers can reduce a young person’s risk for negative outcomes.
       By accepting and celebrating LGBTQ youth for who they are, and helping others to do the same, CASA volunteers and other advocates can help these youth beat the odds and thrive , both during their time in care and beyond.

Though all of our volunteers are equipped to advocate for any child, LGBTQ children are more likely to form a deeper relationship with CASA volunteers who have been through similar life experiences and are comfortable having conversations with them about issues unique to their LGBTQ identity.

By showing our support for Pride Month, we are indicating that our program is a safe and welcoming place for CASA volunteers of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director
CASA of Central Texas
Welcome New CASA Volunteers
We welcomed 7 new CASA Volunteers in May!
 Thank you to all these wonderful community members who completed an intensive 42-hour training and stepped up to be a voice for children in the court system.
CASA is now enrolling for our next cycle of training courses. See dates below.

Click the video to see Lisa Baker of Hays County sworn in on May 21st. Judge McClenahan also discusses why CASA volunteers are so important in her courtroom.
Sworn in via Zoom on May 12: Top (Left to Right) Judge Melissa McClenahan
CASA Training Coordinator Brandi Raschke, Claudia Byrnes of Hays County, Linda Meyer of Comal County, Julia Montgomery of Hays County, Kelly Branco of Hays County, Kelly Donovan of Hays County and Anna Martinez of Comal County.
"Voices" 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 links below 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:

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
9 a.m.
Host: Joyce

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
5 p.m.
Host: Nick

Tuesdays and Thursdays
10 a.m.
Host: Eloise

10 a.m.
Host: Rotating
Become a CASA Volunteer
Upcoming Training Sessions

June 24 - July 22
5 - 8 p.m.
Held online and with Zoom

July 11- August 8
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Held online and with Zoom
Application deadline prior to each cycle is two weeks before start of training. Submit your volunteer application here .

For more information on training courses, contact Brandi Raschke at
512-392-3578, 830-626-2272, or by email.

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. 
CASA Classic
October 26, 2020
Here's the par-fect way to support CASA! Sponsorship, underwriting, and player opportunities for the 4th Annual Corridor Title - CASA Classic Golf Tournament are now available! We’ve expanded participant opportunities and added more benefits! 

Mark your calendars to tee off for kids at Kissing Tree Golf Club on Monday, October 26, 2020. Your participation will help provide a trained volunteer as a voice of hope for the growing number of children entering State Care, especially as child abuse cases are increasing due to today's health and economic crisis. Register today or tomorrow...but sign up soon and avoid the waiting list!  

Player Opportunities
Team of 4- $800

Ace - $10,000 (3 teams plus benefits)
19th Hole - $7,500 (2 teams plus benefits)
Front Nine - $5,000 (2 teams plus benefits)
Back Nine - $5,000 (2 teams plus benefits)
Eagle - $2,500 (1 team plus benefits)
Birdie - $1,750 (1 team plus benefits)

Dinner - $2,500 
Lunch - $2,500
Media - $2,500
Printing - SOLD OUT
Golf Gift - $2,000
Golf Pro - $1,500
Hole in One - $1,000
Golf Cart - $1,000
Golf Ball Launcher - $1,000
Beverage Cart - $1,000
Refreshments - $750
Breakfast - $750
Entertainment - $750
Hole Underwriter- $500

Learn more & register
Training and Support Center Update
We are so close to moving in! Our amazing construction crew worked diligently over the last month to keep progress moving forward. The most noticeable changes are on the outside - trees and shrubs, irrigation, curbs and site prep for the parking pavement. And inside details are coming along too - finishing paint and A/V installation. Exciting!

Join CASA's Capital Campaign by online donation here . Every dollar is needed and appreciated!

See more pictures of construction progress here.
Thank you to our project partners
Join us at CAMP CASA
CASA of Central Texas' Annual Dinner & Auction

Join us at
-every child deserves to be a happy camper-

Caldwell County - Leonard Germer
Comal County - Belinda and Ron Frisk
    Guadalupe County - Linda Douglass
Hays County - Laura Dupont

New Date:
 Friday August 28 2020
6:30 pm
Chandelier of Gruene
1924 Bretzke Lane, New Braunfels, TX

Thank You to our Sponsors
Bill and Betty Thomas
Greater Texas Credit Union  
Jeff and Michelle Hargis
Harper Hill Ranch
Guadalupe Family Health PA
New Braunfels Pediatric Associates
Prosperity Bank
Becky & Kern Huff
Becky and Gene Lake
Bimbo Bakeries USA
Becky and Gene Lake
Broadway Bank
Children's Dental Ark
Colette Wollenberg, Realtor, Keller Williams
J&R Gymnastics
Judge David Junkin
Texas Lehigh Cement Co.
The Kyle Law Firm
Dripping Springs Distilling
Great American Products
Three-night stay in this beautiful, Hill Country Airbnb in Fredericksburg donated by Kate Woolsey .
Two State of Texas Rocking Chairs donated by State Representative John Kuempel .

Get your raffle ticket for a chance to take home this diamond necklace donated by Americus Diamond .
Fender FA-125 signed by George Strait donated by New Braunfels Music .
Shop for CASA
Still doing most of your shopping online? AmazonSmile  is a simple and automatic way for you to support CASA of Central Texas every time you shop, at no cost to you.

When you shop at  , you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.
Just go to , log on to your existing Amazon account, type CASA of Central Texas in the search box, select us and start shopping! CASA will receive .5% of all eligible purchases when you buy from Amazon!

To date, CASA of Central Texas has received almost $650, from your shopping!

Have an old car taking up space in your driveway? Donate it to CASA of Central Texas! CASA partners with CARS on a vehicle donation program. We accept most cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RV's, motorcycles, off road vehicles, heavy equipment and other motorized vehicles. 

Making a donation is EASY ! It's as easy as filling out an online donation form here or picking up a phone and speaking to a live operator at 855-500-7433 seven days a week.
Why donate your vehicle to CASA?
* Avoid the hassles of selling a car * No need to pay hefty repair bills * Free up space in your garage * 100% tax deductible *
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 | |