January 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


Measuring Up
     While many of us have been making (and hopefully not breaking) our resolutions for the new year of 2014, I'd like to reflect on one measure of our volunteer advocates' accomplishments in 2013.Each month, our volunteers are asked to report their time that they give to serving abused and neglected children.They complete timesheet forms that tell us how many hours they spend in education advocacy, medical advocacy, visits to children, visits to family and relatives, researching placements for permanency, consulting with their CASA case supervisors, documenting their work, writing reports to the court, etc., etc. etc.These timesheets are very detailed and, honestly, probably not a whole lot of fun to work on!  But, I can't tell you how much we truly appreciate this extra effort from our CASA volunteers. 

     In addition to their hours, our volunteers report the miles they drive to accomplish their activities...literally, thousands upon thousands of miles logged to visit children in their foster homes, or in treatment centers, or in placements with relatives and other safe caregivers.Oftentimes, because of the lack of licensed foster homes or due to a child's need for specialized care, the children aren't able to be placed near their homes of origin.This means that our volunteers drive to wherever the children are, sometimes to the next town and sometimes to the next county.Sometimes children are placed in the larger cities of Austin and San Antonio as well as other cities across the State. CASA still visits the children and our volunteers report all of those miles so selflessly driven. 

     Tracking hours and miles is a great measure of our volunteers' generosity.  These numbers also serve another very important purpose.Volunteer contributions are frequently cited in our grant applications and presentations to the community.These make a powerful statement to funders and those considering making a financial donation to CASA.When our volunteers are already giving so much, it makes a compelling argument that is hard to deny! 

     So how many hours and miles were reported by our volunteers in 2013? The chart below shows these numbers, along with the "extra" money that volunteers spent out of their pockets in serving their children.I hope this information gives you an idea of the level of commitment that our volunteers all have in common.Please join me in thanking our volunteers for going that "extra mile," working "one more hour" and giving more than their share in advocating for abused and neglected children in Central Texas. 

     Congratulations, advocates! Keep up the good work!


Norma Castilla-Blackwell








Volunteer Hours






Volunteer Miles






Volunteer Goods







*These figures represent reported data.  We know there is even more left unreported...Please send us your timesheeets!

Volunteer Voices

LaVonia grills hot dogs at the 2013 City of Buda's Wienerdog Races. CASA worked this booth to spread the word about the need for more CASA volunteers.
Seeing the Impact   

     LaVonia Horne-Williams took her first case in 2010. She became a CASA volunteer to help support children in need of a voice. "I do believe it takes a village," she said.

     Her most memorable moment as a CASA volunteer is when she saw children on her case returned home. "A family given a second chance at success," she called it.

     To others who are considering becoming a CASA volunteer, LaVonia encourages it.
     "It is challenging at times, but seeing the children move past a period of adversity outweighs the challenge," she said. "I love being a CASA."
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.

Jeannette Sheridan, CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2003


New Braunfels CASA office


March 19th to April 16th  


4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  



San Marcos CASA office


March 20th to April 17th
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  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.
Available for CASA Volunteers

Toys and Gifts Available for Your CASA Children
Thanks to generous supporters, the CASA offices are stocked with lots of toys and gifts available for volunteers to take to the children on their cases.

If you would like to give something to your CASA child for a birthday, first meeting or other special occasion, we encourage you to come to the office and pick out something.
"A Day On, Not a Day Off"

CASA Celebrates MLK, Jr. Day of Service 
     CASA of Central Texas celebrated MLK, Jr. Day of Service by attending events including a MLK-LBJ Memorial Dedication and march in San Marcos.
CASA Volunteer Elette Estrada looks over the memorial. 
    The memorial is the result of a six-year community collaboration and stands at the intersection of MLK and LBJ streets in San Marcos.

     Lucy Baines Johnson spoke about how the relationship between her father and Martin Luther King, Jr. impacted her deeply and personally.

Speaking the words of her father, Martin Luther King, Jr. went dying for what he lived for.

CASA Executive Director Norma Blackwell (right) with Lucy Baines Johnson at the memorial dedication.  
      The memorial depicts an image of King and Johnson meeting in the oval office and conveys six ideals shared between the two: hope, equality, dignity, compromise, opportunity and community.

     Following the dedication, CASA Board Members, Staff and Volunteers took part in a march down MLK Street and a gathering at the Dunbar Community Center. 
Upcoming Information Sessions
Lynette Barker, CASA of Central Texas Advocate since 2009
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, February 5th - Noon  


  San Marcos CASA office 

Wednesday, February 12th - Noon 


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

Please RSVP to Ali Wilkinson by email or at 830-626-2272.

Saying Goodbye


In Remembrance

     CASA of Central Texas will miss two of our advocates who passed way this month. They were invaluable assets to our program, the community and the children they served.

Jerry McHugh
     Jerry was sworn in on December 8, 2011 and accepted his first case with three young children in January 2012. The case closed in April 2013 with one of the largest adoption consummation ceremonies this CASA supervisor has ever been privileged to attend. Jerry was an extraordinary advocate and looked very forward to working his second case. He was sensitive to the family's needs, particularly the great grandmother, while taking special care of his three little CASA girls at every turn. He was a pleasure and privilege to work with, an exceptional man and advocate for children. I looked forward to working another case with Jerry.
~ Lonnette LaBorde, CASA Casework Supervisor



Ann Tubbs 


     Ann served as a CASA with her husband Charles, and they made a great team. They attended training in March 2008, and began serving cases soon afterwards. They served 3 cases with a total of five children, and Ann brought a wealth of experience having taught nursing courses for many years. She advocated for her CASA children, all of whom were reunited with one or both of their parents, by going well beyond expectations. Ann and Charles worked with extended family in each of their cases, building support for reunification in all of the situations. They forged relationships with people from all backgrounds, and were extremely sensitive to the children's needs. Ann was ever the practical one of the team, and Charles always said she was the one who kept them on track. Ann was not a person to talk about herself and all her accomplishments, but she made a huge contribution during her career life, and was very involved in her various volunteer endeavors after retirement. We were very fortunate to have her volunteer at CASA, and it was always a pleasure to work with her.  She had a wonderful sense of humor, and a very kind heart. 

~ Carolyn Massey, CASA Casework Supervisor

CASA Continuing Education

Upcoming Training for CASA Volunteers

Writing Effective Court Reports - Keys To a Successful Report

Presented by Layla Coleman
CASA Casework Supervisor

February 24
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
San Marcos, Location TBA

March 6
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
New Braunfels, Location TBA

Contact Debbie Haynes by email for more information or to RSVP

Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education annually
It's a Team Effort

Making Our Voices Heard

     CASA of Central Texas is working to make a difference in the child welfare system at the state level by activating a Legislative Advocacy Team.The team is co-chaired by CASA of Central Texas Volunteer Advocate John Barthel and Board Member Sandra Koonce, and joins CASA programs across the state to communicate with our lawmakers.

CASA of Central Texas advocates attend a Legislative Advocacy Team Training held by Texas CASA. 
     With input from these teams, the Texas Legislature has passed bills affecting CASA and the children we serve. These bills create more efficient information sharing between CASA and the Department of Family and Protective Services, strengthen the oversight of psychotropic medication for foster children and improve educational outcomes for children in CPS custody.

     Texas CASA met with CASA of Central Texas on January 21st and spoke about the importance of sharing clear, consistent messages that all children in State care need a CASA volunteer. "If Legislators don't hear from you, they will assume you are happy with the status quo," said Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs.

Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs and CASA of Central Texas LAT Co-Chair John Barthel role-play to demonstrate how to engage a legislator in conversation about CASA's role in the child welfare system.
     If you are interested in joining our Legislative Advocacy Team, contact Eloise Hudson by email or at 830-626-2272. 
Amplify Your Donation


You Have 24 Hours to Give

Mark your calendar to make a difference. Amplify Austin is a community-wide day of online philanthropy with the goal of surpassing last year's $2.8 million raised in 24 hours. CASA of Central Texas raised nearly $7,000 last year and we will again be a part of this exciting campaign.

     Beginning at 6 p.m. on March 20th, 2014, anyone anywhere can log on to www.AmplifyATX.org to select from a list of over 300 local nonprofits, (including CASA of Central Texas) and show the world just how charitable Central Texas can be.

Come One Come All!

Under the Big Top
CASA Carnival for a Cause 
CASA of Central Texas invites you for an evening of fun and entertainment under the big top


The Honorable
Todd Blomerth
421st Judicial District
The Honorable
Jack Robison
207th Judicial District  



Mark your calendars to attend and join us for an evening of dinner, dancing and many other festivities

Friday, April 4th
6:30 p.m.
Texas Old Town - Tejas Hall
1205 Roland Lane

Sponsorships available for $750, $1200 and $2500 
Contact CASA if you would like to sponsor this event 
Individual tickets are $75 and $125 a couple
and may be purchased here 
Community Support


If you can display our CASA banner or brochures in your place of business to help recruit more volunteers, please contact Community Relations Coordinator Eloise Hudson at (830) 626-2272 or by email.



Luling Chamber of Commerce
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 

    Texas State student interns shared the CASA story in October and November by hand-delivering our CASA brochures to local businesses and offices in Caldwell and Hays Counties.  Through their community outreach project, they helped CASA raise awareness about our services and the need for more child advocates.  We are very thankful for Sandra, Alyssa and Kristin! Brochures were taken to: 



Dr. Eugene Clark Library
Lockhart Senior Apartments
Lockhart Chamber of Commerce
Mason Lodge
Lockhart Family Medicine
Texas State Optical
Lockhart Senior Citizen Center
Social Media

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and updates throughout the month!

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Upcoming Events


5th-      Voices Tour, noon
             New Braunfels CASA office

12th-    Voices Tour, noon
             San Marcos CASA office

24th-    Continuing Education, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
             San Marcos, Location TBA


      Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

6th-       Continuing Education, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
              New Braunfels, Location TBA

12th-     Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

19th-     Advocate Training Begins, 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office

20th-     Advocate Training Begins, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
              San Marcos CASA office

20th-     Amplify Austin, 6 p.m.

Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month
City and County Proclamation dates TBA 

     Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

Under the Big Top, 6:30 p.m.
              Texas Old Town, Kyle 

9th-       Voices Tour, noon

              San Marcos CASA office

12th-      CASA 5K, Time TBA

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Phone: 830-626-2272

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