September 2014   

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


 Dreaming of the Future 



     Five years ago, our CASA Board of Directors and senior staff met to create a strategic plan that laid out goals, objectives and an action plan to build our organization into the future. I am so proud to say that we have successfully achieved everything that was outlined back then - most notably, doubling the number of advocates to serve more abused and neglected children from our four-county area.


     On our "to do" list, however, there is actually one thing left that hasn't quite been fully completed. We still have one item to finalize and I am asking for your help to finish it with flying colors! We are trying to establish an endowment fund. This will lead our program into the next phase of our future - a future where every child has a CASA, 100%.   


     The initial goal of the endowment campaign is to raise $25,000 by December 1, 2014. As you can see by the thermometer, we have made great progress. We've received gifts from individuals and community businesses, from our volunteers, board and staff members, and in sizes ranging from $50 to $5,000. But, there are just two short months to go and we still need about $8,000 more.  


     When donors are asked why they contribute, many say, "because you asked me to." So, this is me asking all of you...will you, too, give to CASA's endowment fund? You will be helping many abused and neglected children in the future by ensuring that they have trained advocates speaking up in court and the child welfare system about their needs and, ultimately, you will be helping to place children in safe and permanent homes. You will be giving innocent, victimized children a chance at a safe and happy future where they will thrive, get a good education, receive proper medical care, make lasting friendships and begin dreaming big about their own futures.  


     With your donation made by December 1st, the McKenna Foundation will generously match it. So you have a unique opportunity right now to double the impact of every dollar that you donate.   Please help CASA and the children of our future by making your donation today to CASA's endowment fund. We have just $8,000 more to go and every designated dollar counts! 


     Thank you for your generosity and kindness!




Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director 

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

These are our final training classes for 2014...sign up now!
If you know someone who would make a great
CASA volunteer, please share these training dates.

Jeannette Sheridan, CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2003


4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 27th through Nov. 24th

New Braunfels office 



1 to 5 p.m.
Oct. 28th through Nov. 25th

San Marcos office 

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


For more information on becoming a volunteer, click here.
Welcome to CASA!

New Volunteers Ready to Take on Cases


Sworn in on September 19th

Pictured l-r are:
 Jeannie Williams of Hays County, Kelly Stewart of Hays County, Ken Ward of Hays County and Judge McClenahan
Volunteer Voices
Giving Extra

Traudi McDonald, CASA Volunteer since 2001.

"I have learned to give extra help to parents who are willing to change, and to work harder to protect the children of those parents who will not change." 

Thank You!
Honoree Commissioner Greg Seidenberger with CASA Board Member Becky Lake.
Honoree District Attorney Heather McMinn with CASA Board Member Becky Lake.

Guadalupe County Supports CASA Under the Big Top 

     Thank you to everyone who came to support CASA at the 2nd annual Guadalupe County fundraiser.
     More than 150 people came to help raise funds and awareness for CASA and help reach our goal of providing a CASA volunteer for every child in State care.


Thank you Tin Roof for the music and to our sponsors.

Alligator Dental 

CMC Steel
Guadalupe Regional Medical Center 

McMinn Law Firm
The Koehler Company 

The Tomblin Family Foundation 




View photos from the evening here
Upcoming Information Sessions
Lynette Barker, CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2009

Open to everyone, bring your friends, family and colleagues and we will provide lunch!

CASA can also
bring these information
sessions to you,
just give us a call!
Lunch provided by Fox's Pizza Den in New Braunfels and Chick-fil-A in San Marcos.   

VoicesYou are Invited
to a CASA Voices Tour

Want to learn more about the role of a CASA Volunteer? Join us for one of our upcoming information sessions and get all your questions answered.  


The one-hour session will provide information about CASA and the process in which our volunteers advocate for children who have been abused and neglected. CASA staff and

volunteers will be on hand to answer questions you may have about our program.


New Braunfels  
CASA office
Wednesday, October 1st - Noon  


 San Marcos 

CASA office 
Wednesday, October 8th - Noon


GVEC Community Room 
Thursday, October 9th - Noon

GVEC Community Room
Thursday, October 16th - noon

Please RSVP to Eloise Hudson 
by email or at 830-626-2272.

Include CASA

Planned Giving Made Easy

     Last month, we shared with you one easy idea that you can implement to support CASA with a planned gift by naming us as a full or partial beneficiary of your life insurance policy. This month, we have another idea for you to consider...a bequest.


     A bequest is a way for an individual to transfer ownership of specific assets to other persons and/or charitable organizations upon death. A will is the document through which the transfer is accomplished. In a will, you state who you want to inherit your assets. By including one or more charitable organizations in your will, you retain control of your assets during your lifetime and then reduce estate taxes upon the transfer of assets. Another benefit is that you are helping your favorite charity with a very meaningful gift.  


     We invite you to include CASA of Central Texas in your will. There are many types of bequests but one of the easiest to implement is a Specific Bequest of a Fixed Amount or Percentage. Sample language:


     I give and bequeath to CASA of Central Texas, Inc., tax identification number 74-2403373, currently located at 1619 E. Common St., Suite 301, New Braunfels, TX 78130, the sum of $_______ to be used for its general* purposes.


     I give and bequeath ______% of my residual estate to CASA of Central Texas, Inc., tax identification number 74-2403373, currently located at 1619 E. Common St., Suite 301, New Braunfels, TX 78130, to be used for its general* purposes.


*You may also choose to designate your gift to our Endowment Fund.


     Questions? CASA's Development Director Tricia Schneider would be happy to talk to you. Email or phone at 830/626-2272.


The information contained in this email does not constitute legal advice or tax advice. Legal advice and tax advice must always be tailored to your circumstances and nothing contained herein should be viewed as a substitute for the advice of a competent tax advisor or attorney.



Superheros Unite for Children 

     More than 2,300 participants gathered to support CASA of Central Texas, CASA of Travis County and CASA of Williamson County at the 2014 Superhero Run on September 21 at the Cedar Park Center.


     The event featured a 5K and Kids 1K, costume contest, batmobile and family activities.  Thank you to all of the sponsors, vendors, volunteers and participants for being superheroes to the abused and neglected children in Central Texas.  


Click here to see more photos from the event. 
Training Highlights

Volunteers Continue their Education


     Throughout the year, CASA offers various opportunities for continuing education for our volunteers and provides connections to community resources for even more educational opportunities.  In September, we collaborated with the United Methodist Women's group in Buda on a class about Human Trafficking.  In this class, Sergeant John Elizarde from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas gave an overview about this increasingly prevalent illegal activity and told us about red flags to be on the alert for (such as suitcases and sleeping quarters attached to workplaces) and how traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to control their victims, many of them runaways or former foster youth.


     In another learning opportunity this month, a Texas CASA webinar taught CASA volunteers about Surrogate Parent roles in the educational system: obtaining and reviewing school records, requesting evaluations, participating in ARD meetings (Admission, Review and Dismissal), and protecting student rights during disciplinary proceedings.  Also, a National CASA webinar called Living Well With Resiliency helped volunteers learn strategies for taking good care of themselves in order to be able to bounce back from adversity as well as flourish in their work as CASA/Guardians Ad Litem.  


Advocates participated in the latest Fostering Futures Continuing Education held in August and September. 

     CASA of Central Texas also provided another in-house training course this month on Fostering Futures, our program services that focus on older youth ages 14 to 21.  This nationwide, grant-funded project under National CASA gives more knowledge and resources to our volunteers who advocate for older youth as they face tough odds and prepare for their futures.  CASA's Training Coordinator Debbie Haynes shared, "Speaking from personal experience as an advocate for teenagers as well as from the position of Training Coordinator, I see the Fostering Futures curriculum as very beneficial to our advocates.  It gives us another valuable tool in our toolbox to work with older youth and help them identify their dreams and goals for the future."  Attendee feedback reflected an appreciation for the "pragmatic" and "hands on" approach of this particular class. 


     Advocates are reminded to watch for upcoming course offerings to complete a minimum of 12 hours per year, and to refer potential outside resources for more learning opportunities to Training Coordinator Debbie Haynes.

Share Your Thoughts

Cities of San Marcos, New Braunfels, Want Your Input

     The cities of San Marcos and New Braunfels receive federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which is then distributed throughout the community through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). CASA of Central Texas is eligible for these grant funds and, for several years, has sought and been awarded CDBG funding from both the City of San Marcos and the City of New Braunfels. This has been a significant source of assistance to help CASA provide our services to advocate for abused and neglected children.


     Both cities are seeking public comments and suggestions on the type of programs and projects that should be funded using the CDBG funds. If you are a resident of either of these cities, we strongly encourage you to provide your feedback. We hope, of course, that you will select "abused and neglected children" and the CASA program as a priority for funding, but there may be other community needs that you wish to highlight as well.


     Please also ask your family, friends and neighbors to provide their input too!


City of San Marcos residents:

Survey: Online survey HERE (fast!). Paper survey HERE (short!). Return this by email to or to the city's Planning Department at 630 East Hopkins.

Public Meetings: Tuesday, October 14th at 3:00pm, San Marcos Activity Center; and Thursday, October 16th at 6:00pm, San Marcos Activity Center.

For more detailed information:


City of New Braunfels residents:

Public Comment Period: September 22 - October 22

Public Hearings (Council meetings): October 1st at 6:00pm, City Hall, Committee meeting; and October 13th at 6:00pm, City Council Chambers (sign up early in the day to speak)

For more detailed information: 


CASA needs your help to tell the city administrators that abused and neglected children must be cared for and are the community's #1 priority!


Questions for CASA? Please contact Tricia Schneider, CASA Development Director, at 512/392-3578 or 830/626-2272 or by email.


CASA in the Community

CASA Volunteers Calvin Rodriguez, Melinda Rapp, Sonya Rodriguez and Mary Hodges host a CASA information table and activity at the New Braunfels Crawfish Festival earlier this year.
Stop By and Say Hi!


     Community Events are a great way to recruit volunteers and get the word out about CASA.

  It is a chance to meet with people one-on-one and talk about the role of a CASA volunteer.

     If you know of a community event for CASA to participate in, please contact Eloise Hudson.


Upcoming Community Events

Saturday, October 4th 
Bulverde Market Day- A community event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. CASA will have an information booth and activity for children.
Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Location: Bealls parking lot, Bulverde


Tuesday, October 7th 

Texas State University Employee Fair- A fair for employees of Texas State University to learn about community resources and volunteer opportunities. CASA will have an information booth. 

Time: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Location: LBJ Student Center Ballroom, San Marcos


Saturday, October 11th and Sunday October 12th
Community Bible Church Bulverde Community Involvement Sermons- Pastor Larry Andrews will speak in his sermon about how people can help others. We have been invited to set up an information booth to recruit volunteers.
Time: Saturday 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. and Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Community Bible Church Bulverde, Bulverde


Saturday, October 18th
Kids Day in the Park- A community event for children. CASA will have an information booth and activity for children.

Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Central Park, Seguin


Wednesday, October 22nd

Texas State University Nonprofit Fair- A fair for students of Texas

State University to visit with local nonprofits. CASA will have an information booth. 
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.

Location: LBJ Student Center Ballroom, San Marcos 


Saturday, November 1st
Canyon Lake Community Organization
Fair- A fair where different organizations have been invited to set up information booths.
Time: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location: Tye Preston Memorial Library, Canyon Lake


Saturday, November 8th
Belk Charity Sale- The retail store Belk will hold a sale where part of the sales that day will be donate to local charities. During the sale, the charities, including CASA, will each set up an information table.
Time: 6 - 10 a.m.

Location: Belk retail store, New Braunfels


Calendar of Events

1st-       Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

8th-       Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

9th-       Voices Tour, noon
              Schertz GVEC Community Room

16th-     Voices Tour, noon
              Seguin GVEC Community Room

27th-     New Volunteer Training Starts , 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office

28th-     New Volunteer Training Starts , 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
              San Marcos CASA office


             Holiday Gift Drive

5th-       Voices Tour, noon 
              New Braunfels CASA office


12th-     Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office


12th-     Advocate Appreciation Mixer, time TBA
             Price Center, San Marcos 
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