Hope & Faith
Greetings, CASA supporters!

If I’m being honest, 2019 has been giving me mixed feelings lately.

Turmoil dominates on both traditional and social media. Political strife, economic uncertainties, environmental crises – add in our own personal struggles and it’s easy to feel like this world is going off the rails.

Personally, I started this new year so hopeful, but watching those around me struggle with loss and grief and anxiety funneled some of the hope away in just a few short weeks. Recently, though, I was reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption”:

“Remember, Red: hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”

I’m finding that, if we look hard enough, hope can be found in many places. One of the biggest things giving me hope right now is the renewed collaboration between our local nonprofit agencies, CPS, law enforcement, the courts and stakeholders.

As a system, we’re determined and hopeful that we can elevate the general public’s awareness level regarding child abuse and neglect. We also hope to get more people involved.

To that end, we’re planning a Faith Summit that will allow local pastors, priests and interested church members to learn more about the many opportunities available to help foster children find more stable footing. From simply praying for our kiddos to becoming a licensed foster family, there are many ways to get involved.

If you are interested in hearing from CASA, CPS and others, please plan to join us for the Faith Summit. It will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 28, at First Presbyterian Church, 405 East Corsicana Street in Athens.

We HOPE to see you there!
Emily Heglund
Executive Director

The Power of 25!


CASA of Trinity Valley invites East Texans to help celebrate a new milestone for the nonprofit: 25 years of advocating for abused and neglected children.
“Our first volunteers were trained in fall 1994,” executive director Emily Heglund said. “It’s both exciting and overwhelming to see how far our program has come since then.”

Last year, our volunteers and staff served 852 foster children in Anderson, Cherokee and Henderson counties. That’s a 7-percent increase over the 2017 total of 791 children, and our numbers rank us sixth in the state in number of children served annually. We are so fortunate to have the solid, long-standing support of our amazing volunteers and our community. You have made it possible for us to reach this exciting anniversary and we are so thrilled to share it with you!

All year we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary with a new campaign called "The Power of 25!" This campaign is aimed at bringing attention to both the 25th anniversary of CASA of Trinity Valley and the work we do. We hope that by spreading the word about this milestone that it will encourage supporters to "see what the power of 25 can do!" by making a tax-deductible donation of $25 or consider becoming a volunteer to help CASA fulfill its mission of finding safe, permanent homes for children in foster care.

2019 CASA Day at the Capitol

This year, CASA Day at the Capitol took place on Tuesday, February 5. This is the day that CASA advocates from across Texas join together at the Capitol to advocate on behalf of children. CASA of Trinity Valley attendees were Lee Brown, Jane Maloney, Donna Crockett, Charlotte Moore, Lezlie Carvell and Emily Heglund.
Pictured, from left: Jane Maloney, Emily Heglund, Travis Clardy Texas State Representative for House District 11 , Donna Crockett, Lee Brown and Lezlie Carvell.
Texas CASA held their sessions on Monday, February 4, which included the Child Welfare Primer: Essential Advocacy for Child & Family Well-Being. This primer gave an overview of Texas CASA legislative policies and was followed by a panel on effective advocacy.

Following lunch, the event broke out into 2 educational panels: Substance Use & Abuse: Moving the Conversation Forward and Normalcy: Challenges & Opportunities in Foster Care.

We took advantage of the opportunity to meet and speak with as many of our state representatives and legislators as possible!
Pictured, from left: Jane Maloney, Lee Brown, Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs, Donna Crockett, Emily Heglund and Lezlie Carvell.
Aloha: Goodbye & Hello

As many of you may already know, CASA of Trinity Valley has gone through some pretty big staff changes since the end of 2018. We saw the retirement of two of our most beloved staff--Ellen Torres and Jan Jones. Both ladies joined us for one last Volunteer Appreciation Banquet before stepping away. While we miss them both, we are delighted that they have chosen to remain active volunteers!

We've also added new staff you may not have met yet! In our Athens office, we welcomed Brittany Irby to the casework crew. In Palestine, Lee and Donna are joined by Jane Maloney, a former public school teacher. Finally, in our Jacksonville office we have Angela Raiborn and Ricky Gott rounding out the new hires. Get to know each of them a little via their bios below!
Volunteer Training Springs Into Action!

2019 has begun with a bang! We've had a fantastic crop of new volunteers join us already this year and we hope to keep the momentum going throughout the year.

So far we've sworn in 8 new advocates in 2019: 4 for Cherokee county, 3 for Anderson county and 1 in Henderson county.
Cherokee County Advocates
Judge Viriginia Schnarr with Kirklynn Usher
Judge VIriginia Schnarr with   Steven Goode, Reagan Seabourn and Rebecca Derrington
Anderson County Advocates
Donna Crockett, Penny LaPlant, Cindy Taylor, Jane Maloney, Deborah Hagemeier, Lee Brown and Judge Jeff Doran of Anderson County.
Anderson County: Penny LaPlant with Julie Hellrung and Judge Mark Calhoon
Henderson County: Penny LaPlant with Billie O'Daniel and Judge Nancy Perryman
As you know, with spring comes our annual fundraiser in April! This year we've decided to mix things up--instead of the Superhero 5K Race, we're hosting CASA Couture: Bags & Bingo!

Our Bingo fundraiser will take place on Saturday April 27, 2019 from 11:00 to 2:00 at the Palestine Senior Activity Center. It will be an afternoon of lunch, bingo and prizes! We will be playing for designer purses sponsored by local businesses and enjoying a delicious catered lunch followed by door prizes. We'll be launching the official promotional campaign shortly and beginning ticket sales on April 1!
We hope you'll join us and help spread the word, it's sure to be a fun time!
CASA of Trinity Valley PO Box 2259 Athens, TX 75751 Website 903-675-7070