May 2022 Issue

 A Note from our CEO
Neighborhood Changes
40 Stories Over 40 Years
Hands of Hope Highlight
Thank You to Our Group Volunteers
Top Needs & Ways to Help
It has been awhile since our last E-News, and it has been a busy past two months at Casa de Esperanza! In April, we marked Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to reflect on the critical importance of our mission to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect and the role we ALL have to keep children safe. Thank you to everyone who supported Casa in April and all year long.

On May 1st, over 450 guests gathered together in-person for the first time in 3 years at the 2022 Building Hope for Children Gala. Chaired by Mary Ellen & Scott Prochazka, the gala honored former and current Hands of Hope House Parents and Casa's caregivers as the Spirit of Hope honorees, with over 30 in attendance. The inaugural Kathy Foster Spirit of Service Award, which honors past house parents who embody Kathy Foster's passion for caring for children, was presented to Mary Haynes, who came all the way from Alaska to receive the award. In all, the event raised over $730,000 for the care of our children! Thank you again to everyone who attended and supported our largest fundraising event of the year!

This 40th birthday year has been a wonderful time to reflect on Casa de Esperanza's history as well as to look ahead with HOPE to the future. This past fall, Casa's Governing Board and staff worked through a strategic planning process to strengthen Casa through the next three years and beyond. Additional information about our strategic plan and a complete list of goals can be found on our website.

In line with the plan, we have been hard at work re-imagining our programs in light of the many changes in the child welfare space, licensing regulations, and COVID-related impacts. The changes in these areas have had direct effects on caregiver recruitment and retention, referrals for child placements, and our capacity to care for children in need. I encourage you to read the information provided later in this newsletter regarding our response to these challenges.

I am encouraged by the creativity and passion for the mission that our staff, governing board and volunteers bring every single day. Along with your continued support and partnership, Casa de Esperanza will continue to provide HOPE to those in our community who need it most for years to come. Please feel free to email me with any questions you have or to schedule a visit.

Melissa L. Simon, MSW, CFRE
Chief Executive Officer
Neighborhood Changes
Learn More about the Neighborhood Foster Care program.
Zoom Sessions will be hosted on Thursdays:

5/26 @ 7:00 PM
6/2 @ 1:00 PM
6/9 @ 7:00 PM
6/16 @ 1:00 PM
6/23 @ 7:00 PM
6/30 @ 1:00 PM
40 Stories over 40 Years -
Pinwheel House
Lynn Hawkins has been passionate about preventing child abuse all of her life. In 1989, after studying Community and Family Services at University of Delaware, she moved to Texas, where she interned at Casa De Esperanza. What she saw there inspired her and changed her life. ⁠
Lynn dreamed of opening a similar organization in New Jersey. She returned home and started volunteering as a child care worker at a group home in Jersey City. There she met the most important person in her life, the one-year-old curly haired baby, the one who would give a new meaning to her dream, her adopted daughter Quady. Little did she know that this little baby would grow up to have a similar dream: to open a home to provide a safe haven for children and families at risk in New Jersey.⁠
Twenty years later, Quady graduated from Seton Hall and made her mother a promise that she would work on her mother’s dream and together they would build the home. They traveled back to Casa de Esperanza to learn and understand how the community care system worked, and started planning a home New Jersey. Their dream, Pinwheel Place, was founded in 2016 as the first organization of its kind in New Jersey. ⁠

Follow along on our social media pages - Facebook and Instagram - each Saturday as we share memorable stories throughout Casa’s history.
Meet Emily, a Hendrix College graduate from Cabot, Arkansas!

Why did you decide to come to Casa de Esperanza?
When I was getting close to graduating from college, I knew that I wasn't ready to go straight into a graduate program, so I began looking for other post-graduate opportunities that'd be worthwhile ways to spend my time until I decided how I wanted to continue my education. I came across Casa de Esperanza in this search and everything about this experience seemed to fit what I wanted to be doing. I have interest in working with children and I was curious to learn more about social work and the foster care system, but more importantly, the work being done at Casa felt like it would be good work that was worth doing. I had a feeling that I'd enjoy this type of work, that I'd be good at it, and that I'd be performing a useful service through it, and I've been happy to see that I was right.

Share a favorite memory.
One of my favorite memories at Casa was an "A-ha" moment with one of the first children I had in my care. One day we were playing outside when he was frightened by some shadows moving along the fence from some overhead leaves. His immediate response was to run across the yard into my arms and I have never felt so touched by the actions of a child before. He had only been in my care for a week, and while I didn't think we had connected that strongly by that point, he showed me in that moment that he trusted me to keep him safe from things that scared him, and that was very meaningful to me. It can be easy sometimes to get lost in all of the things I can't do for these children in the long-term, but moments like that remind me just how important it is in every moment to show these children that they're safe at Casa.

What is one thing you have learned since arriving at Casa de Esperanza?
One thing I have learned since arriving at Casa de Esperanza is that, while there is no one single "right" way to parent, one of the more effective ways involves actively learning from the children as you parent them. Every child is different in the ways they need to be taught and talked to because each child is different. You have to be able to adjust your viewpoint to meet them where they are. I can receive all of the training in the world from adults about children and be an adequate caretaker, but it really takes listening to the children to be an effective caretaker that can properly meet their needs.

What is one piece of advice, guidance, or recommendation for someone who is considering a service year with Casa? 
One piece of advice I would have for someone who is considering a service year fellowship is to be ready to feel the full scale of human emotions while being here. This job isn't always easy for any number of reasons, and you will undoubtedly have some really rough days, but I've found that there are a lot of seemingly small moments that make the bad days seem not so bad and the good days even better. You have an opportunity at Casa de Esperanza to experience so many precious moments and to touch the lives of so many children in ways that you'll never be able to fully comprehend, and those are the moments that you'll look back on for the rest of your life. 
Thank You to Our Group Volunteers!
A big THANKS to all of our groups who purchased items from our Amazon Wish List, helped stock the pantry, donated a meal, or provided other support in March & April!
David Weekley Homes 
Friends of Casa 
Martha Scales
National Charity League - Memorial Chapter
Prelude Music Classes 

Generation SERVE 
 Houston Area Alliance for TRiO Programs
National Charity League - Memorial Chapter
Prelude Music Classes 
Group volunteer opportunities have resumed! For more information on group volunteer opportunities, email Chrissy.
Upcoming Events
For questions, please contact Erika DuBose at
  • Similac Sensitive Infant Formula (Orange Can) and/or Enfamil Gentle-Ease (Purple Can)
  • Sensitive or unscented baby wipes
  • 2T Boy Shorts and Shirts
Other Ways to Help