Building Block Spotlight:
Being a Consistent Connection

Our focus on the CASA Building Blocks has taken a backseat the past few months as we all adjust to the rollercoaster that is 2020. We’re getting back on track with some in-depth information on our third Building Block, Being a Consistent Connection.

This Building Block  might sound simple on the surface, but as many of us have seen the past few months, having consistent visits and forming real connections can be challenging for many reasons. Particularly now, it’s OK to struggle to find creative ways to check in and grow your relationship with your assigned youth. We’re all in uncharted waters and we’re here to support you. 

Benefits of This Building Block
  • Benefit to the Child: A steady, reliable source of support and a person they can depend on. 
  • Benefit to the Advocate: Skill building in organization and planning. Satisfaction of developing a trusted bond. 
  • Benefit to CASA: Continued strong reputation in the community and comprehensive information about a child’s wellbeing.

Putting It in Practice
Read the following example and think about how you’d approach the situation. 
 
You regularly saw Xavier, the 10-year-old child you advocate for, each week until March. In early March, you had to miss an important educational meeting due to being out of town. Then, you were not able to see Xavier for a week due to him being placed far away with a respite family. Then, the COVID shelter orders went into effect.  
 
You tried to Zoom with Xavier in May but he was very distracted and constantly asked when he would have in-person visits with his mom again. Subsequent Zoom meetings have been tough too. Now that the shelter order is lifted, you could see Xavier in person yourself, and you want to, but your spouse has a health condition that makes him particularly susceptible to respiratory infection.  
 
Some questions to consider: 
How do you feel when roadblocks stand in the way of you being a consistent connection? 
What are some other ways you could support Xavier and show him you are thinking about him? 
How would you communicate your thoughts and feelings with your advocate supervisor and the rest of Xavier’s team?
School in the Fall
Distance Learning
2020/2021 School Year
As everyone might have heard, Governor Newsom has ordered that any county on the COVID-19 watch list will not be allowed to return to school for in-person instruction beginning in August. I think we can all agree that there are concerns for the social and emotional well being of children and the academic development that will impact all children. An additional concern is the level of support that our children will receive through special education and children needing extra support at home with school work and distant learning. Our children are fortunate to have a CASA that can play a vital role in ensuring a successful school experience given all the outside factors. If you hold educational rights for your assigned child, please begin reaching out to the child’s team at their school. Another resource to assist with school needs is Jessica Thomas who is the Foster and Homeless Youth Program Director at SLOCOE. She is great at connecting collaborative teams together to support foster youth. As we all navigate this unprecedented school year, please remember that we all have a role; parent, teacher, and advocate that has never experienced these circumstances before and we have to give each other grace and offerings of solutions.
Online Tracking Form
Click on the link CASA Tracking Form to submit it.
It's Important!
Tracking Forms NEED to be turned in by the 5 th   of each month.
If you have any issues please ask your supervisor for help.
Join us at our next virtual fundraiser!
Thank you Jean Williams!
We Appreciate you.
Jean Williams has been an advocate for 3 years. She is on her second case advocating for two siblings. Throughout both of her cases Jean has remained a consistent and steady advocate ensuring the children’s well-being and safety. In her current case, the kids live outside of SLO County and she has remained consistent and has been able to keep her same level of advocacy. Jean will arrange monthly in person visitation when they came to SLO County, set up weekly phone calls with the children and became a support for the relative care givers. Recently, Jean attended a mediation for her case. Jean shared with the children’s attorney a concern she had expressed for awhile with the social worker with no changes. She took this opprotunity to continue her advocacy and was able to get the childens voice heard through mediation. Her ability to continue to advocate through frustrations and setbacks is one aspect that makes Jean a great advocate. Another positive asset that Jean brings to CASA is her willingness to share her professional knowledge as a professor at Cal Poly in the political science department. You might recognize Jean as she has done multiple In-Services for us in regards to poverty and inequality. We appreciate Jean’s expertise and her willingness to share with the larger CASA community. Jean's next In Service is October 20th!
Thank you Jean for possessing the skills, advocacy, patience to walk alongside your kids during this challenging time in their lives.
Continuing Education Opportunities
Click the link  Continuing Education Calendar  to find ALL CE opportunities!! 
2020 National CASA/GAL Virtual Conference
Registration is now Open

As we continue to find the silver lining given our circumstances, we want to share with you the opprotunity to partipcate in National CASA/GAL’s first Virtual Conference – October 20-21! We are excited that all of us can participate in the conference virtually and we hope that you will consider particpating to expand your knowledge and learning as an advocate.

We aim to re-energize program leaders, staff and volunteer advocates—and ultimately better serve children and youth as we move into 2021.
Get ready to Reconnect with peer-to-peer engagement, Recharge through professionally-led learning opportunities and best practice-sharing and Reignite passion for service.

FULL CONFERENCE OPTION:
  • CASA/GAL Volunteer Advocates and Students = $80
ONE DAY CONFERENCE OPTION
  • CASA/GAL Volunteer Advocates and Students = $50

COVID Update #3

August 5th from 1-2 PM
Please RSVP to  mbarket@slocasa.org   to receive your Zoom link

Presenter: Katie Robinson
CASA Program Director


We are offering another opportunity for us to come "together" through Zoom to get updates from CASA related to our mission of supporting foster children and youth. As we continue to embrace the frequent changes since the shelter at home order, we have more information to share with you. We will be reviewing what changes have been made at a federal, state and local level affecting foster children and youth. 
Please join us to get the most up to date information regarding policies and practices impacting foster youth and how we can continue to support our children and youth.
You will receive 1 hour continuing education .    

Practicing Being

Presenter: Steve Willey,
Wilshire Hospice
August 19th 1-3pm

Please RSVP to  mbarket@slocasa.org   to receive your Zoom link

I f you have ever wondered what the best way is to talk/listen/be there for a youth who has experienced trauma, this in-service for you!

Steve Willey is the Director of Volunteer & Community Education for Wilshire Health and Community Services enabling him to go out into the community and explore many topics from Caregiver Support to End of Life Issues through speaking engagements and workshops. He also helps in the coordination of speaking engagements, pulling from a wide range of Wilshire Health and Community Service professionals.

Being part of an amazing team that brings comfort, meaning and heart to a very challenging time of life is what brought Steve to Wilshire; all the many programs that offer such a wide range of support to our community is what keeps him engaged there.
                   
As Volunteers, we often find it necessary to solve problems and find creative ways to “fix” situations we encounter. But is this always the right path for our work? In our culture “doing” is often the focus while “being” is frequently under-valued and overlooked. Providing a supportive presence for those we serve, even while we are actively engaged in our work, takes a little extra thought and effort. Practicing Being will be time spent exploring the process that goes into the deceptively simple idea of just being present for those we are supporting


You will receive 2 hours continuing education
Book & Movie Club

Monday, August 17th at 6pm (one week later than usual) - Zoom Book Night

NEXT UP
If you have a hankering to read, the selection upon which we will base our conversation is the #1 New York times bestseller: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

"The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed."  (Amazon)
--The library has 20 copies and it's available on CD. 
--If you choose to get the audio book, Mr. Noah narrates it himself 
--Please feel free to join the conversation next month, whether you read or not. The book will just be the inspiration for the conversation. 

So many good titles about race were brought up during the Book n Movie Group chat that I have updated the Continuing Ed reference list.   Look here  for titles.  

Attend : Every minute you attend Book n Movie Group counts toward your Continuing Education requirement*
Read : Every 100 pages you read for CASA earns you 1 hour of Continuing Education credit* It's a fun and easy way to earn your 12 hours of CE's!
Important Resources
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Learning Center from National CASA

CASA Volunteer Recruitment
Help spread the word
Zoom Information Session!

August 4 at 1 pm & August 26, at 6 pm. 

Link for RSVP form or s end an email to staff@slocasa.org

Help us spread the word! Send video link to a friend. Informational video to learn more about what it means to be a CASA

Training Schedule: Classes starting in September and October
CASA of SLO County is  grateful   for our Corporate sponsors
Bank of the Sierra
Community West Bank
Med Stop
San Luis Sports Therapy
Sentinel Peak Resources LLC
Susan Polk Insurance