The latest news and information from Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Fresno and Madera Counties. 

Happy New Year from CASA Of Fresno and Madera Counties! 

Dear Friends,
Welcome to 2016! We hope you enjoyed the holiday season with your friends and family.
We are excited to begin a new year here at CASA. 2016 starts with Board and Committee meetings in preparation for the year ahead. January is also when we host our Annual Continuing Education Kickoff event to let our Advocates know of the monthly learning opportunities available to them throughout the year. The excitement is growing as we look forward to the events and stories that 2016 will bring.
We begin this year humbled and thankful for the generosity and support received in 2015. We are looking forward to continuing to work with you, our donors and supporters, in growing CASA of Fresno and Madera. Together we can help more children have a voice in the foster care system and be prepared for healthy and successful futures. This year we will work together to change their lives and give them hope!
Nathan Lee, Executive Director 

Over 500 toys and gifts collected during the 2015 Holiday Toy Drive!  

This December CASA partnered with 14 local businesses and organizations to bring in toys and gifts for the children currently appointed to an Advocate. Thanks to their overwhelming generosity CASA was able to hand out over 500 toys this holiday season! Extra toys were also donated to the Juvenile Dependency Court playroom where children often wait during court hearings. 

We extend a heartfelt thanks to the following business partners:

Aetna Insurance
City of Fresno - Information Services Department
City of Fresno - Waste Water
Department of Fish & Wildlife
Dowling Aaron, Inc.
Fresno State Athletics - Student Athletic Advisory Council
Golden Valley Chamber of Commerce
Kappa Alpha Theta
LiDestri Foods
Orloff Jewelers
State Compensation Insurance Fund
Thrive Fitness - Sanger

We would also like to send huge thanks to our Advocates and Kappa Alpha Theta volunteers for wrapping all the wonderful gifts! Thank you for helping to bring joy to children this holiday season!

Mission Moment 

Lew Pond has been an Advocate with CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties since 2010. During his time as an advocate he has been assigned to 5 different cases all of which required attention in the area of education. His new case, assigned in September of 2015, has been no different. In some cases the court will assign the educational rights of a foster child to the advocate, and Lew has been given those rights for his current case. Lew noticed right away the low grades and poor attendance and knew his first priority was bringing it to the attention of school officials. In a short amount of time Lew was able to get school officials together for a meeting regarding the young man's education. A breakthrough came during the meeting when the school psychologist realized that "this kid has fallen through the cracks."
In his past cases with CASA Lew has noticed a significant difference in education when the school counselor is able to take special interest in a child. Lew will now continue advocating for the young man within the school and making sure everyone involved in the case, from the foster parent to the social worker and school counselor, is on the same page when it comes to his education.  Lew is the voice into the school letting them know that this child can continue to grow if given the attention he needs. Since being assigned to Lew the young man's school attendance has increased from 60% to near 90%. Although this is a huge milestone in a short amount of time Lew still has much work to do. It's hard to gain the trust of teenagers, even harder to motivate them at times, and Lew will continue working on that. His goal is to let this young man know that he's here to help, and no matter how far behind you are it's still possible to get back on track and graduate.
As Lew said "He's a good kid, he has potential. He just needs to be shown in the right direction." And that's exactly what Lew will continue doing. 

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Upcoming Events

Here's what's happening at CASA in January. 

Information Session:   Saturday, January 9, 9:00-10:00 a.m. CASA Office.
Operations Committee Meeting:   Tuesday, January 12, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CASA Office 
Information Session:   Wednesday, January 13, 6:15-7:15 p.m. CASA Office.
Madera Small Group Meeting:  Wednesday, January 13, 6:15-8:15 p.m. Madera DSS Admin. Office
Journey of Hope 13-18 Small Group Meeting:  Thursday, January 14, 6:15-8:15 p.m. CASA Office. 
Office Closed in Observation of Martin Luther King Day:   Monday, January 18. 
Journey of Hope 0-5 Small Group Meeting:  Wednesday, January 20, 6:15-8:15 p.m. CASA office. 
Executive Committee Meeting:  Thursday, January 21, 11:00 a.m-12:00 pm. Phone Conference. 
Program Committee Meeting:  Thursday, January 21, 5:30-6:30 p.m. CASA Office. 
Community Resource Development Committee Meeting:  Thursday, January 28, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Location TBD. 
Continuing Education Kickoff:  Thursday, January 28, 5:45-8:00 p.m. NEW LOCATION- Wedgewood Banquet Center. 

CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties | 559.244.6485 ||
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