CASA Up Close
CASA of Central Texas advocates for abused and neglected children in the court system by recruiting, training and supporting community volunteers.


     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.
Letter from the Executive Director  

Excerpt from
Part Four of our 12 part-series: A Year in the Life of CASA See this entire entry and previous entries in my
Executive Director Blog


The CASA Story:   
Why and how CASA was created, CASA of Central Texas milestones

     In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge was concerned about making important decisions without sufficient information about the children.  He conceived an idea of having trained citizen volunteers speak up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom.
 
   When he was assigned to juvenile court, Judge David Soukup was overwhelmed with the responsibility of making life impacting decisions for children. He recalls one case in particular about a little girl named Sarah who was brought into court because her mother allegedly had physically abused her.  Sarah had a broken arm and multiple bruises.
 
 
Hear from Judge Soukup, why he felt there was a need for CASA volunteers in the courtroom. 
      "When I left juvenile court at the end of the day, I knew I was going to
wake up at 4 o'clock the next morning thinking about Sarah and two or three other kids that I had seen that day. So I got the idea of recruiting and training community volunteers to appear in court, investigate the cases and give me recommendations about what was best for these kids."

   Read how the CASA movement that started in Judge Soukup's courtroom came to Central Texas in the full blog entry here.


     Next month, learn what a volunteer does to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate in part five of our series, Volunteers Step Forward: Why CASA volunteers are qualified to advocate for children, background checks and training.
 
 
Thank you,  
 
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director  
Welcome New CASA Volunteers    
  
   
Jade Dimitri (left) of Comal County, sworn in on April 12th.




Sworn in on April 20th were: Jean Nation, Sharon Miller, Eleanor Owen-Oshan, Mary Pat CoCo, and Elizabeth McClure.
(And our courtroom companion, Dante, of Canine Classmates)
 
ribbon April Proclamations      
    

 Local government officials read proclamations throughout the month, officially recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month. We thank them for participating in this nationwide movement.



Caldwell County 

Lockhart

Luling
 
Comal County 

Bulverde
 
Garden Ridge 

New Braunfels 
    
Guadalupe County 

Schertz

Seguin
 
Buda

Dripping Springs 
 
Kyle

San Marcos
Photo Courtesy of Don Anders, City of San Marcos 

Wimberley
 
Thank you also to the cities of Cibolo, Marion, Martindale, Selma and Hays County for their proclamations. 
Judge's Voices 
 
Judge Robison accepts a Thank You from CASA Executive Director Norma Blackwell 
     District Judge Jack Robison spoke at a CASA Volunteer Swearing In ceremony and had this to say about the need for CASA in a community:
     
     "Initially, I was very skeptical of the CASA program because they have no specific background in psychology, sociology, university training."

     "Over the years, I've learned that may be their biggest asset. They bring their experience, their common sense and their empathy to the program rather than some training from someone who's probably never been in their shoes or in the situation that they're involved in."

     "I find the CASA worker to be the most valuable input because they're untainted by an agenda. Their only agenda is the welfare of a child; that's also the district judge's only agenda. When it comes to those kinds of cases, our job is to put the child first, everybody else is second. And CASA has that same agenda, that's why it's worked so well. Thank you for continuing to to do what you do."
 
Give Big through the Big Give 

  CASA of Central Texas is excited to participate in the 4th Annual Big Give, which includes (but isn't limited to) Comal and Guadalupe Counties!

The Big Give kicks off on May 4th at midnight and lasts 24 hours.

HELP CASA WIN AN EXTRA $1,000

Each hour, the organization that has the most donors will receive an extra $1,000.

CASA of Central Texas willl compete in the 10:00 to 10:59 a.m. hour on May 4th!   Save your donation for the 10 a.m. hour and help CASA win the prize!

Thanks to a generous donor, for every dollar you donate to CASA of Central Texas through the Big Give, it will be matched, up to $10,000!

The McKenna Foundation and the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation are each awarding prizes to the organization with the most unique number of donors.This means that with as little as $5, you can help CASA win even more money!  Along with your gift, please share our message and encourage others to donate to CASA. 

Or, give now! This year, the Big Give starts taking gifts on April 27th, that means you can start giving now! Click here to donate! 
      
Become a CASA Volunteer training
Nancy Deckard, CASA Volunteer


Training courses are ready for you!

Saturdays
(accelerated 2 class training course)
Schertz GVEC Building
May 13 & 20 
9 a.m. to 2 p.m .
 
Wednesdays
 
San Marcos CASA office 
June 7 - July 5    
1 to 5 p.m. 
 
Thursdays
New Braunfels CASA office
June 8 - July 6 
4:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
 
 
Check out our calendar for dates and times for the rest of the year and for information on how to get enrolled.
 

For more information on training courses contact Volunteer Coordinator Samantha Mundine Coleman at 512-392-3578, 830-626-2272 or by email, or click here to visit our website.

Training is required for all new Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers. 
Our Volunteer Training Course is a 5-class series.
Volunteer Continuing Education        

     On April 18th, Debbie Whitehouse, a post adoption services worker for Child Protective Services Region 8, spoke to advocates about the network of services available to families after an adoption is consummated such as counseling reimbursement, support for all family members, as well as education programs.

   Adoption is a wonderful outcome on a case. CASA volunteers work with families to make sure the transition is as positive as possible for both the family and the child. Learning about available resources helps the volunteers advocate for services to be put in place before the case is officially closed by the court.
CASA Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education annually.  
"Voices" Information Sessions Voices 

Want to learn more about the role of a CASA Volunteer?

Come to
ribbon our one-hour information session and hear how our volunteers advocate for children who have been abused and neglected.   
 
CASA staff and
volunteers will be on hand to share their stories and answer your questions.  
 

New Braunfels 
Wednesday, May 3rd, noon 
CASA office

Wimberley
Tuesday, May 9th, 1 p.m.
Wimberley Village Library

San Marcos 
Wednesday, May 17th,  noon  
Historic County Courthouse, 1st floor conference room
 


Please RSVP to Eloise Hudson by email or at 830-626-2272. 
 
Would you like to host a CASA Voices session in your town? Please contact us.
 
Lunch provided by Fox's Pizza Den in New Braunfels and Chick-fil-A in San Marcos. 
CASA Corral 
 
Thank you to everyone who came to and supported CASA Corral on April 7th!

CASA honored Associate Judge Melissa McClenahan and Past Board President JoAnne Germer, raised funds to support CASA operations, and had a great time!

Special thanks to River Road Ice House for donating their venue for our event!



 And, thank you to our sponsors, who made the event possible:

Pecos Bill


Hopalong Cassidy
Coldwell Banker 1st National, REALTORS
Kasha Corp LLC & Elma Teresa Salinas Ender PLLC
Mariposa at Hunter Road Apartments 
McKenna Foundation


Red Ryder
Becky & Gene Lake, Betty and Bill Thomas, Canine Classmates , Children's Dental Ark, CMC Steel Texas, Compadres de CASA, Gunn Nissan , Gruene Wald, Huisache Grill/Master Pools of Austin, Huddleston & Co/Texas Native Landscaping/Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics , John Manthey , J&R Gymnastics, The Kyle Law Firm, Melinda Rapp, Mission Hill Dental, Property Professionals, Inc., Prosperity Bank, Rio Verde Construction and Texas Lehigh Cement Company LP
In Memoriam

 
     CASA of Central Texas fondly remembers Andrea Gindhart from Cibolo, TX who passed away on March 26th, 2017.  Along with her husband Rick, she served on three CASA cases with 10 children from 2009 to 2015.  We extend our deepest sympathy to her family.

More about Andea's life here
Community Support    
  
 
Carlos Russo of AquaBrew in San Marcos. AquaBrew celebrated their 1-year anniversary with a charitable gift to CASA.  
  
 
April 2017
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Upcoming Events
 
   
May

3rd
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office

 
4th
Big Give S.A. Online Fundraiser  
All Day 
Online 
More info click here


9th
Voices Tour in Wimberley
1 - 2 p.m.
Wimberley Village Library 


13th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Schertz GVEC Building 


17th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse room 101

 
 
June
   
7th 
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office
     
   
7th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1-5 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
 
8th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office


9th
Voices Tour in Wimberley
1 - 2 p.m.
Wimberley Village Library 


21st 
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse room 101

 
July


5th
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office


9th
Voices Tour in Wimberley
1 - 2 p.m.
Wimberley Village Library 


19th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101

 
19th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
 
20th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1-5 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office
 

 

August 


2nd
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office

 
16th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101
 
 
30th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1 - 5 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
 
31st
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office

 

September
 
6th
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office

 
20th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101
 

30th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins - Saturdays 
8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
New Braunfels CASA office
 
CASA Of Central Texas Inc.
www.casacentex.org
830-626-2272