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  
     April is National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month and agencies will promote the month with the color blue. What does it mean to "Go Blue" in April? For me, it is about not letting the issue of child abuse be ignored. It is a topic not talked about enough, until it makes headlines when it involves tragedy. In April, I want the color blue to stand for something positive - communities showing that we will work together to protect our children.

     Our local Counties and Cities will commit to the fight against child abuse by signing their own proclamations recognizing the month. I encourage anyone who can attend their local signing to do so. See the calendar below for dates and times of proclamations in your community.

      As an individual, I ask you to think how you can recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month. Wear the blue child abuse prevention bracelet, invite CASA to come speak to your church group, attend Family Court one morning to observe and understand how abuse is occurring in your own community, or talk to your children about being nice to the new kid in their class who has just joined them after being placed in a foster home because they were no longer safe in their own home.

      As a business owner, celebrate the month by asking your employees to wear blue on Fridays, announce the month on your marquee, invite a CASA representative to speak to your employees, or decorate your office with blue ribbons.

      Although April brings child abuse to light, we need to remember that our children are being abused all months of the year. Our dedicated volunteers here at CASA recognize this and work year round to protect these children. It is fitting to me that this month we will also celebrate these great people during National Volunteer Week, April 15 - 21, and the children they serve will be recognized during National Crime Victims' Rights Week April 8 - 14.

      This April, take a stand, speak your voice, and Go Blue.
Thank you,  
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director  
Become a CASA Volunteer 

Training courses are ready for you!


April 9 - April 23* 
9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

San Marcos   
May 9 - June 6   
4:30 to 8:30 p.m.    
New Braunfels
May 10 - June 7 
1 to 5 p.m.
Guadalupe County
May 12 - May 26* 
9 a.m. to 2 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.

Training is required for all new Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers.
*Our weekday Volunteer Training Course is typically a 5-class series. The Kyle and Guadalupe County classes will be a 3-class series, with a m andatory 10-hour online class to be completed before training sessions begin.
Viva Olé!   
CASA and Los Compadres, "Viva Olé!" 
April 20th, 6:30 p.m. 
Chandelier of Gruene in New Braunfels 

     You are invited to CASA's annual fundraising celebration, CASA and Los Compadres, "Viva Olé!" We truly appreciate your support and hope you join us for this evening to benefit the children in our communities.
     CASA will honor long-time supporters, the San Marcos Lions Club and Comal County Commissioner Donna Eccleston. Enjoy music from Mariachi Espuelas de Plata from San Antonio!

Join us for our live and silent auctions for a chance to take home some great items:

4-day, 3-night stay in Breckenridge, CO 
Motorized State of Texas Cooler 
Iron Cactus Artwork made from Amish Horse Shoes 
Two-Day Trip for 6 to Texas Wine Country 
River Raft Trip on the Guadalupe 
Golf Putter 
Handmade Fishing Rod 
And More!

Purchase individual tickets here .  
Thank you to our sponsors!

El Jefe - $10,000:

  The Whole Enchilada - $5,000 

Hot Tamale - $2,500

Hoppin' Jalepeno - $750
CMC Steel Texas
J&R Gymnastics
The Kyle Law Firm
Property Professionals, Inc.
Texas Lehigh Cement Company 
    Click here for sponsorship levels and to join in! 
Welcome New CASA Volunteers
New CASA volunteer advocates, sworn in on March 28th. 
Pictured l-r: Ariel Estrada of Hays County, CASA Board Member Frank Pereira, Alexis Guerrero of Hays County, CASA Board Member Seth Worley,   Ruby Amaya of Hays County, Yuliana Salazar of Hays County, Raul Garcia of Hays County, Mark Zuzanek of Guadalupe County, Judge Melissa Mcclenahan, Elizabeth Mercado of Hays County,   Melissa Moore of Hays County, Christine Brown of Hays County, Haseeb Chohan of Comal County, Ken Marx of Comal County, and CASA Executive Director Norma Blackwell. 
April Proclamations 
   ribbon Local government officials will read proclamations throughout the month, officially recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month. Community members are invited to attend these proclamations to show your support. See a calendar of proclamations below.

    Hays County, the City of San Marcos, and Seguin have already read their proclamations and we thank them for their support.


Hays County 
San Marcos  
Photo courtesy of Don Anders 
Birdies for CASA   
    Over the past 20 years, Valero Texas Open has helped hundreds of local non-profit charities and schools raise money through Birdies for Charity®; a no-cost program that gives 100% of the funds raised back to non-profit organizations.
    Birdies for Charity is like a walk-a-thon, but instead of donating per mile, participants make a pledge for every birdie made at the Valero Texas Open. In 2017, 1,975 birdies were made, so a pledge of $0.01 yielded a donation of $19.75. You are also welcome to make a donation of any dollar amount. 

   Select CASA of Central Texas to receive your pledge for all birdies made from April 16-22. CASA will receive 100% of your donation, PLUS be eligible for a 7% match back from Valero! 
   Pick up pledge forms at either CASA office, or use our convenient direct pledge link  here.   
As a donor, you are also eligible for Valero Prizes! 
Get Your Cookies!   

     A delicious and generous donation! Thank you to Girl Scout Troop 1888 of New Braunfels who spent the past cookie season collecting donations for CASA. Those donations were used to purchase over 10 cases of cookies and the remaining funds will be used for another service project later this year. On March 20th, the troop toured the New Braunfels office and heard a presentation by a current CASA. It's always great to see kids stepping up to help other children in their communities. 

Advocates, please stop by either office to pick up a box or two to take on your next visit to your CASA kiddo.

Continuing Education for CASA Volunteers  
     On March 6th, Advocates were invited to attend a presentation by PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in Seguin.
     Advocates watched a video and participated in a Q & A session with members of the organization, as well as a discussion on LBGTQ issues that affect CASAs in their work with children in foster care. The video included interviews with children as young as 4 years to young adults who are experiencing issues of sexuality, as well as trans and intersex issues that are becoming more well known. 

     Seguin PFLAG Co-President Jennifer Hancock quoted the film stating, "love doesn't have a gender" and PFLAG does its best to be a resource and offer support for families, allies, and people who are LGBTQ.

     One story that generated discussion was the story of 4-year-old Ellie who told her parents, "I'm not a boy, I'm a girl in my heart and brain."  The group discussed tips on what to do if a child on a case is going through similar issues and why family, school, and community reaction matters.
Some tips include:
  • Use gender neutral language
  • Listen to the child's self-affirmed gender identity
  • Take responsibility for your own education
     Many of these issues that are becoming more prevalent, such as transgender issues, can be difficult to understand if we have not experienced them ourselves. The film pointed out that it helps to see gender as fluid and highlighted that gender identity is different than sexual identity.
     Some resources cited by PFLAG members are: The Gender Cool Project, The Ackerman Institute, and the Trans Youth Project.
And for children, the book: George

All 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, April 4th, noon 
CASA office

San Marcos 
Wednesday, April 18th,  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 Chick-fil-A.
A Thank You to Social Workers 
     Although CASA Volunteers are proven to improve the lives of foster children while in care and prepare them for life after care, one of the things that makes the CASA program and our volunteers so effective, is our network of partnerships with the many agencies in our community. CASA would like to take a moment to express our gratitude for social workers during March, National Social Work month.
    At CASA, we see firsthand how social workers juggle multiple cases, work in high-stress circumstances with families coping with serious health and legal issues, and stand on the front lines to safeguard children and make sure they and their families have the necessary resources to heal. They sometimes see the worst of humanity, and yet they keep the optimistic view that with support, people can change their lives. 
  Every day, our CASA volunteers see how skillfully social workers do a very difficult job: supporting children and families in the child welfare system. Just as we believe CASA volunteers are an important piece of the puzzle, it takes others to complete the picture.

  CASA of Central Texas extends our thanks and appreciation to social workers in our area and across the county who are working to care for our children. 
Community Support 
March 2018
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Upcoming Events

Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Kyle, City Hall 
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101
Viva Ole CASA Fundraiser
6:30 p.m. 
CASA Of Central Texas Inc.