September 2013  

CASA Up Close

Welcome to another edition of CASA Up Close Monthly. Below you will find information about our supporters, upcoming events, training opportunities and more. Please feel free to contact CASA for more information about anything you read. And, as always, thank you for your continued support.

CASA of Central Texas


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

Every child has the right to a safe, nurturing, permanent home.
Letter from the Executive Director


Let CASA be a Part of Your Legacy



As our organization continues to grow and represent more abused and neglected children in the community, it is important now more than ever to diversify our funding sources and offer supporters different ways to contribute.  


In addition to making individual donations and attending our fundraising events, I encourage community members to consider the many options available for making a planned gift to CASA of Central Texas.


First, you can support CASA by including a bequest provision in your will or trust that will direct assets to us.  You can also name CASA as a beneficiary in your life insurance policy or your retirement plan as well as donate or deed property to the organization.


One option that appeals to me personally are endowments, long-term sources that would provide CASA with sustainable and consistent funding for years.  I have set out to raise a $10,000 principal to start an endowment for CASA of Central Texas.


I encourage each of you to speak with your financial advisors and continue to support CASA of Central Texas as we grow and work toward our goal of providing a trained volunteer to every child who needs one. 


If you are interested in contributing to CASA's endowment or would like to discuss planned gifts, please feel free to contact me. 




Norma Castilla-Blackwell 

Upcoming Information Sessions
 casa 25

CASA can also
bring these information
sessions to you,
just give us a call!
You are Invited to a CASA Voices Tour
Learn about CASA and the work our advocates are doing in the community.  Join us on the 1st and 2nd Wednesdays of each month for a one-hour "virtual" tour of our mission.  Open to everyone, bring your friends, family and colleagues and we will provide lunch! 


 New Braunfels CASA office 


  Wednesday, October 2nd - Noon 


  San Marcos CASA office 

Wednesday, October 9th - Noon
Schertz GVEC Community Room

Thursday, October 10th - Noon

  Seguin GVEC Community Room

Friday, October 11th - Noon


Lunch provided by Fox's Pizza Den in New Braunfels
and Chick-fil-A in San Marcos.

Please RSVP to Ali Wilkinson by e-mail or at 830-626-2272.
Volunteer Voices

Bruce and Barbara Reichel, CASA Volunteers from Comal County.
A Team Effort 

Following their move to Central Texas, Bruce and Barbara Reichel became CASA volunteers in 2009.  


"Barbara was looking for volunteer work in the area and she saw an article in the local newspaper asking for CASA volunteers.  We learned that we could work CASA as a team, so we signed up for the training."


Bruce and Barbara are currently working on their third case and are members of CASA's volunteer-based Community Outreach Committee. 


"We feel we are making a real difference in the lives of children whose entire future is in jeopardy, and they need a voice."   


When asked about their most memorable moment as CASA volunteers, the Reichel's agreed that it was the adoption ceremony of the three children from their first case.    


"We saw them go through some difficult times,  and now they are healthy, happy, and are doing marvelously in school.  We've been able to stay in touch with them and very much look forward to watching them grow into productive, happy and successful adults!"

CASA's New Promotional Video

CASA Recognized for Community Efforts

I Live Here, I Give Here, an Austin-based organization, selects a monthly community issue and spotlights three area nonprofits addressing that issue.  CASA of Central Texas submitted a proposal and was selected as a spotlight organization for September 2013.


As a spotlight organization, CASA of Central Texas was awarded a custom HD video, valued at $5,000, highlighting the organization's work and the importance of financial support.    

CASA of Central Texas Austin Involved Voting Video
CASA video featuring longtime supporter,
Becky Tomblin.

The video is also available on the CASA of Central Texas organization page of the I Live Here, I Give Here website.   

Holiday Toy Drive
Participate in CASA's Holiday Toy Drive


This holiday season, CASA of Central Texas is collaborating with local organizations to provide holiday gifts for abused and neglected children. This annual project is a wonderful opportunity to extend the giving tradition to children in our community.  We hope that your organization will join us in our goal to provide a gift to all of the abused and neglected children that CASA serves.  


Organizations, employee groups, churches and individuals may participate.  During the first week of November, CASA will provide you with first names, ages and gift ideas for children in our program.  This information will come on a small star-shaped paper that can be displayed on a Christmas tree or another visible area.  Your members can select a name, purchase a gift and drop it off (with the star attached for identification) at your organization.  CASA staff will collect the gifts in early December and our volunteers will distribute them to the children.    




If you are interested in participating in the Holiday Toy and Gift Drive, please contact DeAnna Curcio by e-mail  or at (830) 626-2272.

Upcoming Volunteer Trainings
Make a Difference in the life of a child,
become a CASA Volunteer

Help us get the word out about these trainings!
If you know someone who would make a great
CASA volunteer, please share these training dates.

Nancy Deckard CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2005


New Braunfels CASA office


October 22nd to November 19th 


4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  


October 24th to November 21st

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 


San Marcos CASA office


October 23rd to November 20th
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  To learn more about training sessions, contact Training Coordinator Debbie Haynes at 512-392-3578 or by e-mail.


More on becoming a volunteer here.
Painting with a Purpose
Painting Fundraiser Benefits CASA


Painting with a Twist hosted a fundraising event on September 15th in New Braunfels and generously donated 50% of the proceeds to CASA of Central Texas.   




The 40 CASA supporters in attendance socialized as they each painted a "Bluebonnet Sunset".  CASA received a check for $800 from the event.  
Texas CASA Conference

State Conference Headed to San Marcos

Texas CASA's annual conference will be held October 24th through 26th in San Marcos at the Embassy Suites. 



The goal of the conference is to educate and promote information sharing to improve advocacy for children in State care.



Over 500 executive directors, program staff, board members, judges, volunteers and other child welfare professionals from across the state are expected to attend the 2013 Texas CASA Conference.


HD Supply and Texas Bar Foundation have generously offered to pay the registration cost for 20 CASA of Central Texas volunteers to attend the conference.  If you are interested in attending the conference, please contact Debbie Haynes at, 830.626.2272. 

Click here for more information about the Texas CASA Conference.


Save the Date


State Rep Kuempel
State Rep. John Kuempel, CASA 2013 Honoree 

CASA's Superstar Talent Showcase

Honoring State Representative John Kuempel.  


Join CASA for an evening of fun, food and drinks, live music and entertainment.   

Thursday, November 7, 2013
6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Texas Agricultural and Heritage Center- Big Red Barn
390 Cordova Road
Seguin, Texas 78155

To purchase tickets online, click here

Tickets also available at:
D&D Farm and Ranch
The First National Bank
Gift and Gourmet
El Olvido Hacienda Mexican Restaurant
Keller-Williams (McQueeney and Seguin)
Seguin Chamber of Commerce


Continuing Education on Teens and Drugs


Vodka Eyeballing...Quick Buzz...Purple Drink...Synthetic Weed...


These are just a few of the new words and phrases that concerned CASA volunteers learned at an open community presentation co-hosted by CASA of Central Texas and the Hays Caldwell Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (HCCADA).  Held at the First Lockhart National Bank on September 24th, expert Denise Contreras, MSW, presented shocking and valuable information on "The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Kids and Drugs."  The session was chosen for Lockhart because of the especially high number of known incidents of synthetic drug use in Caldwell County.   


Presenter, Denise Contreras, MSW 

This presentation not

only stunned many in the audience, but also elicited an engaging discussion on how our children are accessing drugs and alcohol, why they are experimenting in such dangerous methods of substance abuse, and warning signs to detect such abuse.  Stress was listed as the number one factor children and teens choose to participate in unsafe activities such as "vodka eyeballing", which can lead to blindness in extreme cases.  Another example of ways in which kids are seeking to achieve a "quick buzz" is by consuming a drink perpetuated in the media by rap artists and athletes called "Purple Drink", a toxic mixture of codeine cough syrup, soda, and Jolly Rancher candy added for flavor.  


The use of "Synthetic Weed" is also increasingly popular among teens in Lockhart.  The toxic chemicals "Synthetic Weed" contains can cause blindness, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior.  The alarming use of prescription medication "borrowed" from the medicine cabinets of family and friends and a host of other easily accessible substances in the area have the potential for long-term physical and developmental consequences.  Our children are not considering possible long-term side effects when they seek these short-term methods to alleviate issues such as stress, emotional problems, and boredom.


Advocates and community members learning about youth and substance abuse. 

CASA volunteers can engage with children and teens in an open dialogue about the severe consequences of these substances.  We can guide youth to define their own reasons for not using drugs and, therefore, effectively enable them to achieve their own personal goals.  A CASA volunteer that builds a trusting relationship with a youth can help that young person describe and understand how substance abuse will hinder their overall life satisfaction.  The youth are more likely, then, to have self-confidence and the ability to say "no."  Also, when CASA volunteers know about community resources, they can guide youth towards safe and healthy activities and, as Contreras has seen, "help kids feel better about life in general."


HCCADA is a private non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting community and family enrichment through substance abuse education, prevention, intervention, and treatment.  Grace Davis, Executive Director of HCCADA and Contreras diligently partnered with CASA of Central Texas in an effort to provide insight into specific drugs and challenges the children in our community are exposed to on a daily basis. 


Seguin Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet


CASA Celebrates the City of Seguin


CASA staff attended the 93rd Annual Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet at the Guadalupe County Events Center on September 25th. The event honored local businesses and community members.  George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush and guest speaker, addressed social and educational issues facing youth in the community.


Pictured l-r: CASA staff member Jerret Swierc, CASA Executive Director Norma Castilla-Blackwell, George P. Bush.

Wing Society


Wing Society Social Brings Volunteers Together

Volunteers gathered at the Hays County Courthouse on Saturday, September 28th for the Wing Society Fall Fiesta!     
Wing Society President Nell Everett welcomes advocates and guests.  

Formed four years ago, The Wing Society, a support group for CASA, is growing and providing positive support to sustain the commitment of CASA's volunteers.


The Wing Society sponsors social activities that bring volunteers together to share experiences in a fun, relaxing atmosphere and provides refreshments for new volunteers at the swearing-in ceremonies.   


The Wing Society is self-funded through membership subscriptions and donations which helps keep all of CASA's legislated funding focused on advocate training and staff support.


When CASA needs assistance, this group is always there to pitch in and prepared to do whatever is needed.  Together, the CASA community will continue to make a difference in the lives of children in State care.

Community Support
Promote CASA at Your Business

Thank you to the following organizations and businesses for displaying CASA brochures in their buildings:

Broadway Bank 
Canyon Lake Animal Clinic 
Victor's Personal Training Center 

CASA of Central Texas is looking for more volunteers and you can help.

If you can display our CASA banner or brochures in your place of business to help recruit more volunteers, please contact Volunteer and Development Assistant Jerret Swierc at (830) 626-2272 or by email.

Upcoming Events


              New Braunfels CASA office

7th-       Permanency Luncheon, 11:30 - 1 p.m.
              Mamacitas, San Marcos            

       Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

10th-     Voices Tour, noon
              Schertz GVEC Community Room

11th-     Voices Tour, noon
              Seguin GVEC Community Room

22nd-   Advocate Training Begins, 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office
23rd-    Advocate Training Begins, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.              
San Marcos CASA office

24th-    Advocate Training Begins, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office

24th-    Texas CASA Conference Begins, 9 a.m.             
              Embassy Suites, San Marcos 


6th-      Voices Tour, noon
             New Braunfels CASA office

7th-      CASA's Superstar Talent Showcase
             Texas Agricultural Education & Heritage Center, Seguin

13th-    Voices Tour, noon
             San Marcos CASA office

Stay Connected! 

Like us on Facebook  Find us on Facebook!              Visit our Website

Phone: 830-626-2272

Join our mailing list! 

Make a donation to CASA