April 2020

In This Issue:

  A Note from our Executive Director
Child Abuse Awareness Month
Hands of Hope Highlight
A House Parent's Perspective
Volunteer Appreciation Month
Thank you to Our Group Volunteers
Save the Date
Ways to Help
Greetings!
On behalf of everyone at Casa de Esperanza, I want to sincerely thank you for your kind inquiries, notes of encouragement, and continued support for our mission. It is because of your selflessness and continued support that Casa de Esperanza can remain as committed as ever to keeping children safe and providing help and hope to their families.

Six weeks into this pandemic, our Hands of Hope interns continue to provide safety to children at risk of abuse and neglect, and our caseworkers continue their work with their parents to address the issues that brought them to us. The area we have seen the most need is in our Aftercare and Outreach program, which includes case management and emergency assistance.

Always a lifeline for families who have been reunited after completing services in our Residential program, the need for this program is acute now. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unexpected disruption in the lives of everyone, but especially for the families that we serve. Many of these families live paycheck to paycheck, below the poverty line, and are but one emergency away from eviction, homelessness, hunger, and utter destitution. They face an indefinite challenge making ends meet. Already, our families have experienced the loss of employment and childcare and are struggling to care for and home school their children. For our families, there are simply no reserves to fall back on.

While observing social distancing, our caseworkers continue to make visits to our families and provide them with needed supplies. Through April 20, Casa de Esperanza has provided direct assistance to 135 parents and 205 children in the Aftercare, Birth Parent Support, Community Foster Care and Post-Adoption programs. In advance of the Stay at Home orders, we provided food and disaster kits to our Aftercare families. Now, our immediate actions are centered upon the approximately 81 families impacted by the loss of jobs or reduction in hours. 

The stressors impacting us all right now are known to increase the incidence of family violence and child abuse. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Throughout the month, our Facebook, Instagram and blog is focused on Casa de Esperanza's core values and how, with your support, we work to stop the cycle of child abuse and neglect. With your support, we can work to break the cycle of child abuse.

Throughout the past month, several organizations have provided special in-kind support to our programs including:
  • Charity Guild of Catholic Women and Create Face Mask Covers Houston provided face masks for our children, families and staff
  • Todd Mason and Houston Farmers Market provided fresh produce
  • GT Plumbing conducted required gas pressure testing in the Casa de Esperanza neighborhood

We are thankful for our volunteers, whom we recognize now during National Volunteer Month. From the very beginning, volunteers have been an essential part of Casa de Esperanza. From volunteering weekly in the neighborhood, to providing a meal for our children, to working in the office or helping with our events, we are grateful for the hard work and dedication of each our volunteers.

Your care and your support allows us to provide safety and hope even during this uncertain time. Thank you for your continued commitment to the children and families we serve.

Sincerely,




Shelley M. Starr 
Executive Director
On the heels of a trying month with social distancing, self-quarantining, and school closures, April’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month comes as a crucial reminder that social isolation compounded with times of extreme stress or anxiety significantly increases the risk of a child experiencing neglect or abuse.

Despite the tough times and staggering statistics, there is HOPE. With a focus on the strength of long-term relationships, Casa de Esperanza supports families in promoting healthy medical, social, environmental and behavioral outcomes. It takes an entire community to ensure the safety of our children.

How can YOU help us break the cycle of child abuse ?

  1. Learn about how we address the issue: Throughout the month of April, Casa de Esperanza is sharing our core values on social media along with our mission statement as a reminder and re-dedication to the action we take daily to prevent and stop the cycle of child abuse and neglect. Follow along on Facebook or Instagram and share our message with your network: @casahopehouston.  
  2. Contribute financially: Casa de Esperanza’s effort to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect is needed in our community now more than ever.  As an organization that does not charge for services or accept government funding, it is truly individuals like YOU that allow us to provide HOPE and a HOME to the children and families we serve.

On behalf of the children of Casa de Esperanza, thank you for your support!
Meet Sydney, a Xavier University of Louisiana graduate from Birmingham, Alabama!

Why did you decide to come to Casa de Esperanza?
I learned about Casa through my psychology department newsletter. It was something that immediately caught my attention because of my interest in trauma and love for working with children. After learning more about the internship, I applied and it was the best decision I could have made.

Share a favorite memory.
One of my favorite memories was from when I was coming off of my overnight shift. I was gathering my things to go back to my room, and one of my kids ran to hug my leg, blew me a kiss, and waved and said "bye bye." I was very close with this particular child and it warmed my heart to always be around her and see her be happy.

What is one thing you learned since arriving at Casa de Esperanza?
I have learned so much about patience and fully living in and enjoying the little moments. Now that all my children from my house have gone back home, I find myself looking at pictures and journaling about the times we had together. Although it may not seem like it in the day to day life, the kids are here for only a short amount of time and it is so important to treasure the moments you have with them.

What would you say to someone considering the Hands of Hope service year program?
For anyone who is thinking of coming to Casa, I say do it! Come with an open mind, an abundance of patience, and unconditional love in your heart and you will find this to be the most transformative experience of your life. The children that come into our neighborhood deserve the best and I highly recommend waking up everyday and recognizing that it is a new day that you can make even better than the last.
A House Parent's Perspective
“The one constant is change.” This statement would be true in any of Casa de Esperanza’s programs and at any time. Hands of Hope Interns, especially, face change continuously: which children are placed with them, the ever-shifting needs of those children, who they are parenting with, and the list goes on and on.
 
The experience of change in the Casa neighborhood has been on many of our minds now more than ever. HOH Interns are experiencing change along with the rest of the world brought on by COVID-19 including disappointment, loss of freedom, and uncertainty against the backdrop of coping with changes that are unique to them as HOH Interns. As you read this, HOH Interns have said good-bye to beloved children. They have processed change for their house and themselves and continued to provide life-changing care for the children. House Parents are managing complex, traumatized children- children with needs that the rest of the world would likely not understand- by being willing to adjust their caregiving.
 
Over the years many HOH Interns have said that their time at Casa de Esperanza necessitated a level of flexibility that became a highly developed skill which they could apply to many areas of their life after Casa. Currently, the tried and true ways that they have coped with change such as coming together as a community, talking about their feelings and spending time with each other are suddenly not available in the same way. But, that said, we can all be confident that the HOH Interns’ skill in managing change will be the key asset in navigating this period. Success in the Casa de Esperanza neighborhood begins with HOH Interns who can sensitively flex with the situation that unfolds in front of them. Our current HOH Interns have shown time and time again their ability to manage the changes associated with caring for a fragile community of children who require a willingness to adapt and change from everyone in their caregiving world. So, perhaps instead of just saying “change is constant…” we could add “…and our Hands of Hope Interns’ ability to manage change is too.”
April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month! While we cannot celebrate in person due to the current events happening in the world, we still want to recognize everything our volunteers do throughout the year to support Casa de Esperanza! Our weekly volunteers are acknowledged below with their years of service in 2020.
1 Year
Joey, Lucy, Maya, Maria, Estee, Melissa
Ava, Julie, Martha, Sara, Sarah, Madison
Leana, Sue, Nola, Vanesa, Jane, Regan
2-5 Years
Claire, Liz, Whitney, Afrah, Ashley W.
John, Brittany, Leah,Marris, Lindsay
Jim, Lea, Catherine, Sira, Dafna, Laura, Ana
5-10 Years
Ashley R., Juliana, Arza, Katie, Patsy, Mary Ellen, Lynne, Mary E.
10-15 Years
Mary S., Kevin
15+ Years
Ed, Rita, Betty

Thank You to Our March Group Volunteers!
Thank you to the following groups for coming to Casa de Esperanza and sharing time with our children, bringing meals, or benefiting our organization through other efforts. Your generous gifts ensure that children are safe and their families receive the help and hope they need for a better future!
Cavatore Italian Restaurant 
Generation SERVE
Meal Delivery Volunteers
National Charity League
Palazzo's 
Prelude Music Foundation
Society for Human Resource Management
The Immigration Force

While we have had to cancel volunteer events through April, we look forward to resuming our group volunteer program as soon as it is safe to do so.
Mark your calendars for m Strategic Partners'
annual sporting clay event
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
at Westside Sporting Grounds
benefitting Casa de Esperanza de los Niños

Sponsorship and early registration is now open. www.carsandclays.com
COVID-19 is impacting all industries and businesses, especially small businesses and local restaurants. Help us support those who support Casa de Esperanza by purchasing food to-go, shopping online, or purchasing a gift card.
Other Ways to Help
Want to help the Casa de Esperanza Neighborhood during this time? Consider sponsoring a Restaurant Meal Delivery! 

We are asking that meals be provided for all homes in the neighborhood, but that it be ordered and delivered for 8 different homes, in separate restaurant delivery sacks for each house, as we are not having sharing of meals or group buffets at this time. Please provide 8 adult servings per house, as this allows leftovers for some of the smaller homes. 
  
To coordinate a date and time for delivery, please contact Mikaela Fox at mfox@casahope.org . Deliveries are made at the gate and a staff person then distributes to the homes.