CASA Up Close | May 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
  • Training Dates - now by videoconference!
  • Information Sessions - now by videoconference!
  • A Forever Home
  • Congratulations Seniors
  • CASA Classic
  • CASA Training & Support Center Update
  • Giving Tuesday Now
  • Community Resources
  • CAMP CASA
  • CFC Pledging Period Reopened
  • CARS for CASA
  • Events Benefiting CASA
  • Community Support
Letter from the Executive Director

May is National Mental Health Month , and caring for your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. We’re facing a public health crisis right now with the outbreak of COVID-19, and each of us is coping in different ways. During these strange times, in addition to watching out for our physical health, we also need to be doing everything we can to take care of our mental health.

Sadly, the children served by CASA volunteers are at a high risk for experiencing trauma and mental health issues. As advocates for those involved in foster care, we see children, parents and families struggling with mental health issues often, and helping them access the treatment and services they need is a core part of what we do.

Like the kids and families CASA serves, we can all benefit from taking good care of our mental health. This looks different for everyone. For some, it can mean keeping up with regular exercise and a healthy diet. For others, it can mean practicing meditation and mindfulness. For still others, it can mean opening up to someone, whether a friend or a professional. Whatever it means to you, there’s no better time than now to make your mental health a priority.

We’re living in an especially stressful and isolating time. Through this crisis, our CASA volunteers are continuing to keep an eye out for the mental health of the children and families they’re serving, because it’s an equal partner to physical health. Make sure you’re doing the same, both for yourself and for others.
Though there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a few tips on how you can look after your mental health during this time of physical distancing.

If you’re looking for safe ways to stay active , there are many free workout channels on video platforms like YouTube, as well as smartphone apps for running, yoga and more. You can also help keep your brain “trained” through mindfulness exercises and meditation.

If you’re working from home , be as gentle with yourself as you can. Do what you can to maintain a healthy work-life balance and give yourself breaks when you know you need them. Try not to hold yourself to unrealistic expectations when it comes to focus and productivity.

If you’re struggling , consider opening up to a trusted friend, partner or family member. It might be scary at first, but chances are, the person will be glad you told them how you are feeling and will be happy to support you and lend a listening ear.

If you think you could benefit from professional help , many mental health providers are currently offering telehealth services. Check out Psychology Today’s Find a Therapist tool to get started. You can also consider online or text therapy.

Finally, Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help people experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can call toll-free at 833-986-1919. Counseling services are confidential and free of charge.

This National Mental Health Month comes during an exceptionally difficult time, and it’s more important than ever that we come together in safe ways and take care of ourselves and each other. We can all benefit from investing in our mental health, both right now and in the future.
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director
CASA of Central Texas
Welcome New CASA Volunteers
We welcomed 10 new CASA Volunteers in April!
 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.
Sworn in via Zoom on April 8th: The Honorable Judge Melissa McClenahan,
CASA Training Coordinator Brandi Raschke, Amber Staton of Comal County, April Rodgers of Comal County, Janet Morris of Comal County, Bill Morgan of Comal County, Leslie Goodwin of Comal County, Alia Fitzgerald of Hays County, Lisa Dixon of Comal County and Pam Allen of Comal County.      



Sworn in via Zoom on April 14: The Honorable Judge Melissa McClenahan, CASA Training Coordinator Brandi Raschke, Shannon Shubin of Hays County and Arianne Staley of Comal County.    
Become a CASA Volunteer

Upcoming Training Session


June 24 - July 22
5 - 9 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. 
"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.

We now host Zoom video conference meetings to make sure you are able to safely attend, and still get all of your questions answered!
Just pick a time that works for you and use the links below to join us!
If these times don't work for you, just 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


Saturdays
10 a.m.
Host: Rotating
A Forever Home
CASA Volunteer Sharon Miller shares her story of the journey to adoption.

I’ve been a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for three years now. I received my first case assignment the same week I was sworn in. For the last 1,095 days, I have thought about this moment. The moment when my CASA kiddo would find her forever home.
Kym has been through a lot in her short life. She’s been in and out of foster care for the last six years or so. It began when she was removed from her mother’s home due to abuse, ultimately ending up with her father, and then being removed from his home due to neglect. The last time she entered the system was three years ago. That’s when I entered the picture.
We met at an emergency shelter. This bright, well-spoken girl who, at the age of 10, had seen and experienced things that no child should.

Congratulations Class of 2020
May marks the last few weeks of school for the class of 2020 and CASA of Central Texas wants to wish good luck to all of the seniors! We support you have high hopes for your future!

Your journey is ending a little different from those before you, but it is still such an accomplishment and no less special..

Pictured right: CASA Community Relations Coordinator Nick Lopez helped wish the Lockhart High School Senior Class good luck in their honk line.
CASA Classic
October 26, 2020
Last year’s tournament may have been the best one by par, but we have high hopes this year for the 4th Annual Corridor Title - CASA Classic Golf Tournament! We invite you to take part or support one of our biggest fundraising events of the year! We have an exciting new range of sponsorship and underwriter opportunities and benefits available in 2020. 

In even more exciting news, Kissing Tree Golf Club has graciously agreed to again serve as the venue host! Players thoroughly enjoyed teeing up at San Marcos’ newest and best course last year, which leads us to believe that spots may sell out fairly quickly this year! We recommend that you sign up soon and avoid the waiting list! 

Player Opportunities
Team of 4- $800
Individual Player- $250


Sponsorship Opportunities Available: 
Ace Sponsor- $10,000
19th Hole Sponsor- $7,500
Front Nine Sponsor- $5,000
Back Nine Sponsor- $5,000
Eagle Sponsor- $2,500
Birdie Sponsor- $1,750

Non-Playing Underwriter Opportunities Available
Supper Underwriter- $2,500 
Lunch Underwriter- $2,500
Golf Gift Underwriter- $2,000
Golf Pro Underwriter- $1,500
Golf Cart Underwriter- $1,000
Golf Ball Launcher Underwriter- $1,000
Printing Underwriter- SOLD OUT
Beverage Cart Underwriter- $1,000
Refreshment Underwriter- $750
Breakfast Underwriter - $750
Entertainment Underwriter- $750
Hole Underwriter- $500

Learn more & register
Training and Support Center Update
The lights are up and the floor is down! The Training and Support Center in San Marcos is almost ready for us to move in!

You can support CASA's Capital Campaign by check or online here . As we near the finish line of completing this long-envisioned facility, our primary needs include furniture (tables, desks, chairs, shelving), landscaping (trees, plants, irrigation), a projector and a projection screen. Every dollar helps!

See more pictures of construction progress here.
Thank you to our project partners
Giving Tuesday Now
Kick off Giving Tuesday Now with CASA of Central Texas on May 5th! Giving to CASA is especially important now, because child welfare experts predict that more children will enter into State Care. As families suffer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sadly, children will suffer too. The need for trained CASA volunteers is higher than ever!

Giving Tuesday Now is the perfect opportunity for CASA to raise funds that will go directly towards training more devoted and enthusiastic volunteers. Join us in reaching our $5,000 goal, so that we can train ten new volunteers in the next two months! Your financial support allows CASA volunteers to change children’s stories from heartache and disappointment to healing and love.

Community Resources
man_woman_hiking_help.jpg
To equip parents with helpful information during the pandemic:

·        DFPS has created a “Help and Hope”  webpage  to provide useful parenting tips and resources as well as a page devoted to assisting parents dealing with COVID-19.
·        DFPS also has a  webpage  with free Prevention and Early Intervention programs which includes a list of programs available by county.
·         Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute  has resources and information for parents and caregivers about talking to children about the coronavirus and about managing anxiety and stress.
·        The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has  resources on substance use and mental health , including managing stress and a  COVID-19 page .
·        Parents can contact the  CPS Family Helpline  to receive information and education in English and Spanish about the CPS process.
·        ​ Aunt Bertha  is a social care network where families can search by zip code for free or reduced cost services such as medical care, job training, and more.
·         School Meals Finder  is a tool to help families experiencing food insecurity locate the nearest school providing free meals to their students.
Join us at CAMP CASA
CASA of Central Texas' Annual Dinner & Auction

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

Honorees:
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
TRAILBLAZERS
STARGAZER
GUIDING ARROWS
HAPPY CAMPERS
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
TOASTY MARSHMALLOWS
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
IN-KIND DONORS
Dripping Springs Distilling
Great American Products
UP FOR AUCTION
Get your raffle ticket for a chance to take home this diamond necklace donated by Americus Diamond .
Reserved table for eight to see
Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes on April 24th donated by Krause's Biergarten.
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 .
Fender FA-125 signed by George Strait donated by New Braunfels Music .
CFC Pledging Open Again
The CFC and Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in coordination with the White House Covid-10 Task Force has created the opportunity for Federal Employees to create new gifts or add extra to their current pledges in support of their favorite CFC charities.

Please consider additional support during this special added pledge period. 
CFC logo
CASA of Central Texas
CFC Code 60661
CARS for CASA

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 .
Community Support
Thank you San Marcos Lions Club and CZ Floors for their recent donations.
CASA of Central Texas, Inc. | 830-626-2272 | info@casacentex.org | www.casacentex.org