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  
Domestic Violence    

     October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I want to use this as an opportunity to highlight the issue.

     According to the Department of Family and Protective Services, in families where battering occurs, the rate of child abuse or neglect is 15 times higher than the national average. Children may be hurt indirectly when their parent is abused. They may be injured trying to protect their parent.

     Because CASA often sees the result of this abuse, it is important for us to be knowledgeable about domestic violence. Here is some information from the DFPS that I would like to share.

Also known as "domestic violence," family violence is an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to cause physical or emotional harm. It is against the law in Texas.

The first step in stopping domestic violence is to recognize it when it happens. It's hard to accept that you may be battered by someone you love. Still, you may be a victim of family violence if:
  • you are being pushed, shoved, slapped, bruised, kicked, strangled or threatened with a weapon.
  • you are verbally attacked or accused.
  • your possessions are intentionally damaged.
  • you are not allowed to come and go as you wish.
  • you are being followed, harassed, or spied upon.
  • you are forced to have sex or perform a degrading sexual act.
  • you are kept in isolation.
     No one deserves to be abused. If something about your relationship frightens you, or if you or someone you know is suffering abuse in a relationship, please call:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TDD for hearing impaired)
Thank you,
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director  
Volunteer Voices  
     Melinda Rapp became a CASA volunteer in 2010 because she loves children and wanted to do something to help protect them.

     Her first case involved a 5-year-old girl who would tell everyone in court,

     "This is Ms. Melinda, she is helping me get a new home, and she is a princess."

     "I cried," Melinda said.

     Melinda encourages others to consider becoming a CASA volunteer.

     "It will be the most rewarding venture that somebody who loves children can take."
Become a CASA Volunteer training
Lynette Barker, CASA of Central Texas Volunteer

All dates for our 2017 training courses have been set!

Check out our calendar for dates and times 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. 
The Volunteer Training Course is a 6-class series.  
Committed to The Children 

     CASA Volunteers were honored on October 14 at our Fall Permanency Luncheon. The lunch recognizes volunteers whose children have been placed in safe, permanent homes through family reunification, placement with relatives, independent living and adoption. 

     CASA supervisors shared stories about the cases and the work each volunteer did to advocate for the best interest of the children. The stories were a reminder why it is important to keep working toward providing a CASA for every child in care.


Front row l-r:
Lavonia Horne-Williams, Deborah Blair, Jane Freestone, Shay Timmins, Melinda Rapp, Lynnette Lombardo and Susan Hankins.

Back row l-r:
Joe Timmins, Maria Elena Tolle, Rita Starz, Mikki Tharp, Chelsea Bohannon, Arthur Taylor, Nicole Solis-Douglass, Collette Wollenberg, Jan Morton, Bill Morton and Rose Tempfer

Not Pictured:
Sherryl Barker, Steve Bazan,
Stacy Brewer, Debra Cantu, Samantha Mundine Coleman, Doris Davila, Stephanie Eagle, Beverly Hoffman, Sara McCaffrey, Tracy McGinty, Sally McWithey, Lisa Metzler, Karen Moore , Jennifer Morrison, Suzy Nicks, Kathie and Larry Patterson, Elizabeth Polk, Bill Raissle, Daysy Silvestre, Sheila Sims, Ralph Townsend, Ken Ward, Patricia Willett and Renate Yanity.
Voices Tour 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.  
Voices Tours
New Braunfels 
Wednesday, November 2nd, noon
CASA office

San Marcos 
Wednesday, November 16th,  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 Tour in your town? Please contact us.
Lunch provided by Fox's Pizza Den in New Braunfels and Chick-fil-A in San Marcos. 
Sponsor a Child for the Holidays  

     This holiday season, CASA of Central Texas is collaborating with local organizations and individuals to provide gifts for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.

     This annual project is a wonderful opportunity to extend the giving tradition to children in our community.  We hope that you will join us in our goal to provide a gift to all of our CASA children.

   To sponsor a child, please visit our toy drive webpage which will be active November 1. 
Advocating for Older Youth 
     On October 17th, CASA volunteers attended "Advocacy Matters for Older and Aging Out Youth," a continuing education class presented by Tim Judkins, CASA Casework Supervisor and Transitional Youth Specialist. Tim discussed the unique challenges and responsibilities that come with advocating for older youth in the foster care system.
      "For teenagers, permanency means having meaningful and lasting relationships and this is the area in which they tend to make the poorest decisions," Tim shared. " Due to the trauma they've experienced in the loss of their family for one reason or another, their ability to make mature and responsible decisions is impaired. Unfortunately, this makes advocacy for teenagers very challenging."

     Tim emphasized that, in the long run, volunteers who advocate for teenagers have to accept that good outcomes are unfortunately all too rare and that the motivation to be a presence in the life of a teenager is found in the "giving" more than the "getting."  The reward for working with teens may or may not be found in the outcomes achieved by the teenager. Advocates can find that giving of themselves is its own reward no matter the outcome.

     Tim will also present this topic at the Texas CASA Conference in November.

Advocates are required to complete 12 hours of Continuing Education per year.
Wing Society Fall Social 

     CASA Advocates met up for the Wing Society's Fall Social at Patio Dolcetto in San Marcos on September 29th.  There were more than 80 attendees, including a number of advocates who had not previously attended one of our events!



Coming soon...Watch for your invite to the Annual Advocate Mixer to be held on December 5th.
Painting with a Purpose  
     Join us for a night of fun and express your creative side as you Paint with a Purpose. The host company, Painting with a Twist, is generously donating 50% of the proceeds to CASA of Central Texas.

 Participants will paint the above piece of art with the help of an instructor.
December 4th
2 - 4 p.m.
1551 N Walnut Ave #20, New Braunfels 
$35 Includes supplies and snacks and 50% goes to CASA!
Register here and share with your friends, family and neighbors!  
Get Your Holiday Hams  

     Perfect for the Holidays! The Wing Society has partnered with the HoneyBaked Hams Company in the sale of gift cards. The Wing Society will receive 20% of each sale. 

     The Wing Society is a CASA of Central Texas auxiliary group whose mission is to provide positive support to sustain and revitalize the commitment of volunteer CASA Advocates in Comal, Guadalupe, Hays and Caldwell Counties. Their funding provides get togethers for the volunteers, welcome receptions for new volunte ers, scholarships to conferences and more.

     HoneyBaked Gift Cards can be used at HoneyBaked stores nationwide, to shop online, or to order from the HoneyBaked catalog. So don't hesitate to order cards as gifts for friends and relatives in other cities (as well as yourself, of course)!

Use this website to order.
Shop for CASA 

     Have you started your holiday shopping? Here are easy ways to raise money for CASA of Central Texas while you search and shop online. Try them once to learn how easy it is, keep using them to earn more for CASA!
     When you shop on Amazon, at no extra cost to you a portion of your eligible purchases can be donated to CASA! Just go to, log on to your Amazon account, type CASA of Central Texas in the search box, select us and start shopping! CASA will receive .5% of all eligible purchases when you buy from Amazon!
    Use GoodSearch, a search engine just like Google, but for every search you do, CASA of Central Texas receives 1 cent. Go to , type in CASA of Central Texas as the beneficiary, and start searching! In addition, do all of your shopping through their online shopping mall,, where you can shop at more than 2,400 top online retailers and a percentage of your purchases will go to CASA of Central Texas. You pay the same price as you normally would, but a donation goes to CASA!  
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tusday 

     November 29 is the fifth annual #GivingTuesday worldwide. It is a day to inspire personal philanthropy and encourage bigger, better and smarter charitable giving during the holiday season.
     If you spend on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, please consider kicking off the holiday giving season with an end-of-year charitable gift to CASA of Central Texas ! Click here to donate. 
Donate Your Scary Car to CASA 
     Did you know that you can
donate that scary car parked in your driveway to support CASA of Central Texas?

     It looks terrific with the ghost and goblin decorations, but what about the rest of the year? CASA appreciates your donation. It's simple, and the pick-up is free.

      Visit the donation site online to schedule your donation or for more information. 
Community Support

The GVTC Foundation
October 2016
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Upcoming Events



CASA Toy Drive Begins 
More info click here

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

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



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

Advocate Appreciation Mixer 
6:30 - 9:30 p.m.  
Milltown, New Braunfels 
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office

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

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

CASA Volunteer Training Begins
8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
CASA Of Central Texas Inc.