May 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


School's Out for the Summer

     For many children, the next few months will be fun-filled hot summer days with happy childhood memories being created. Sadly, though, my thoughts turn to children facing a different reality. 


     When children are in school, there are extra eyes and ears keeping up with their lives as their teachers see them every day. A teacher is often the one who notices changes and is a trusted person a child can open up to when he is not safe at home. In 2013 there were 40,700  reports of abuse made to Texas Child Protective Services by teachers, the highest percentage of reports at 17.7%. 


     But when school is out for the summer, teachers no longer see the children daily. Our CASA volunteers will not let the summer go by without checking to make sure the children are safe and have someone they can confide in.


     During the summer months, it is especially important for concerned community members to report suspected child abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at or by calling 1-800-252-5400. Teachers are a great resource for children, but they must not be the only resource.


      Keep the children on your mind and in your hearts as you enjoy this summertime, and remember that the children in our community are also the future of our community.





Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director 

A Lasting Gift

Endowment Campaign

     We announced earlier this month our campaign to create and build an endowment fund for the purpose of supporting the long-term sustainability of our CASA services for abused and neglected children in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties. In just four weeks, you have responded to the call with your designated donations so that we are at 25% of our goal of raising $25,000. Thank you!!

     With our endowment fund, the corpus, or principal, will be held so that earnings can grow and a limited amount of interest only may be drawn for CASA operations. In this way, CASA will establish a long-term, secure revenue stream to ensure continued advocacy for abused and neglected children.
     For every dollar contributed by individuals and businesses, the McKenna Foundation will provide an equal match up to an additional $25,000, making the opening fund balance at least $50,000.  Several of our board members, staff and volunteers have already committed to making personal contributions to the endowment fund.  This is a tremendous opportunity and we need your help too!  Ideally, we are seeking
37 more donors to each make a gift of $500.  However, gifts of any size are eligible as are non-cash gifts such as securities.

Make your donation online by clicking HERE and typing "Endwoment" in the designation box. You may also mail a check with "endowment" in the memo to the CASA office at:
CASA of Central Texas 
1619 E. Common, Ste. 301 
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Upcoming Volunteer Trainings
Make a Difference in the life of a child,
become a CASA Volunteer

Help us get the word out about our 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



4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

July 9th through August 6th

New Braunfels office 



1 to 5 p.m.
July 10th through August  7th

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.
Volunteer Voices
John Barthel
CASA of Central Texas
Volunteer Advocate since 2011
Being There  

"I have learned the value to a child of having an adult just 'be there' consistently over the long haul."

"Both in good times and bad, it seems that a loyal, consistent, non-judging adult can reduce some of the anxiety in a foster child's life, and provide much needed stability."
Dedicated to the Children

New Volunteers Ready to Take on a Case

Sworn in on May 6th
Pictured l-r are: Linda Schlather of Guadalupe County, Dorothy Walker of Guadalupe County, Judge Bruce Boyer, Kathleen Martin of Comal County, and Sherryl Barker of Comal County.



Sworn in on May 7th 

Pictured l-r are: Liza Pergiel of Hays County, Scarlett Hallagan of Hays County, Judge Todd Blomerth, Connie Amaya of Caldwell County, Carolyn and Robert Pitts of Comal County.

Preparing for the Future


CASA Youth Get a Look at College Life 

      In April, CASA Casework Supervisor Tim Judkins, along with CASA volunteer Jimbo Scarborough and a CASA intern, took 4 youth and 2 young adults to Texas State Technical College in Waco for an open house tour of the college. This was the second such trip in two years and it is hoped that this opportunity can be offered each year to youth who may be interested in TSTC or who need a vision for themselves that might include college.

     The CASA youth came from placements in Austin, Lockhart, Seguin, New Braunfels and Bulverde, and were at least 17 years old. They each had expressed interest in going to a vocational school like TSTC. They made the commitment to wake up very early that morning and take a long road trip to spend several hours investigating career choices, facilities, and living arrangements at TSTC. As a state-approved vocational college, TSTC accepts the college tuition and fee waiver that foster kids in Texas are granted. So these young people know they can attend TSTC without the burden of tuition costs.

     Upon arriving at campus around 10 o'clock, youth were directed to a large recreational room where booths were set up representing the 36 categories of vocational education available at TSTC. Youth met with instructors, asked questions, saw displays and obtained material about their particular fields of interests.

     Youth were then bussed to additional campuses to tour specific fields such as welding, cooking and technology. The group reconvened for lunch provided by TSTC. The weather was beautiful and sitting around a table together outside of one of the apartment communities allowed the group to share their experiences and encourage each other in pursuing their respective interests and dreams.

     CASA looks forward to hosting another group at TSTC's open house next year.
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! 

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, June 4th - Noon  


 San Marcos 

CASA office 
Wednesday, June 11th - Noon


Lockhart First National Bank 

Wednesday, June 18th - Noon



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

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

Sharing Experiences

State Representative Hears from CASA Volunteers 
State Representative Doug Miller came to the CASA office on May 20th for lunch with our volunteers to learn about children in his district who are in foster care. After hearing their stories, Representative Miller said he sees the benefit of having a CASA volunteer appointed to a case.
"These children are very lucky that a judge decided to set up a program like CASA," he said.
"If they don't get help, the alternative is not too good."

Before leaving, he praised the volunteers for being in the trenches.

"You know I am one of CASA's advocates," Representative Miller said.
"I encourage you to keep doing what you are doing."

The Silver Screen



CASA Advertisement to Air in Local Theaters  

     Beginning May 30th, our local movie theaters will be airing a 30-second CASA PSA as part of a state-wide recruiting campaign through Texas CASA.

Chadwick's Story 
Watch the PSA here 
     The spot will run for 12 weeks at the Starplex 12 and Showplace 3 in San Marcos, and Creekside Cinemas in New Braunfels. Be watching for it!
"Fore" the Kids

CASA volunteers including Aimee Hartwick, John Barthel and Melinda Rapp helped man the event. Not pictured: Shay & Joe Timmins.

San Marcos and Kyle
Chick-fil-A Golf
Benefits CASA

     Chick-fil-A hosted the 3rd Annual Cow Classic Golf Tournament on May 16th benefitting CASA of Central Texas and the Hay-Caldwell Women's Center.  This year, the San Marcos and Kyle Chick-fil-A locations teamed up and held the tournament at Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle.

     There were more than 20 teams entered in the golf tournament; all competing for the top prize of Chick-fil-A for a year!  Chick-fil-A also had games set up throughout the course, including a Hit-the-Cow contest and a hole-in-one contest for a donated truck from Chuck Nash.  The day ended with an awards ceremony and raffle drawing.  Thank you to Chick-fil-A, the participants, volunteers and sponsors for making this fundraising event a success!
Looking Ahead

Strategic Planning Sets 5-Year Goals

     CASA of Central Texas has set sights on 2020 and hopes to accomplish goals with the help of a 5-year strategic plan.

     CASA board members, volunteers and staff gathered on May 16th for a group summit after several weeks of small group work sessions. The workshop addressed the overarching "big picture" of where we would like to see CASA in five years.

     Our work will continue in June as we identify specific and measurable goals to achieve with program operations, funding and administration. We will be ready to share a plan with you in July! 
Thank you to the San Antonio Area Foundation for providing project funding, and to Alexis De Sela and Amy Phipps of Bacon Lee and Associates for being our project facilitators.
CASA Continuing Education


  CASA Volunteers Talk Culture
     Ethnic Identity. Collectivist. Identity Confusion.  These are just a few of the words and phrases advocates learned at a recent CASA Continuing Education workshop. Held at the Westover Baptist Church in San Marcos on May 5th, Dr. Angela Ausbrooks of Texas State University presented information on "Maximizing Child Well-Being: Understanding Culture & Cultural Needs." 
     The workshop began with a brainstorming activity.  First, the advocates worked as a group to define the word 'culture' that would be used as a reference for the duration of the workshop.  The group defined culture as, "a group of people bound by similar characteristics, including: value system, tradition, geography, shared history, language, food, entertainment, personal experience".  Advocates were then asked to give examples of cultures and to draw from their personal experiences.  Examples included age, ethnicity, religion, work, political affiliation, marital status and gender. 

     Following the activity, Dr. Ausbrooks presented examples of the impact that culture can have on a case and the children.  The group examined ethnic identity development and the different stages a child may be experiencing in their journey to understanding their ethnicity, as well as the collectivist mentality, "I am because we are, and because we are, therefore I am".
     The workshop allowed for advocates to apply culture and ethnic identity to their personal and volunteer experiences.  We hope that this Continuing Education provided valuable information and the tools necessary to identify and address cultural needs of the children we serve.

Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education annually  

Hit the Road with CASA

Order your license plate
CASA License Plates are Back


    The redesigned Big Voices for Little Texans license plate is now available for purchase through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

     A portion of the proceeds from the license plate goes directly to our local CASA program, and you put our logo on the road.


Save the Dates - Upcoming Fundraising Events


Under the Big Top 

Friday, September 19, 2014
Texas Agricultural and Heritage Center, Seguin 
Join CASA for an evening of fun, food and drinks, live music and entertainment. Music by Tin Roof.

Honoring Commissioner Greg Seidenberger and District Attorney Heather McMinn.  

Tickets are $50 per person and on sale now through the above link.





Superhero Run

Sunday, September 21, 2014
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park

The annual CASA Superhero Run, a 5K and Kids 1K race, features masked and caped runners, a superhero costume contest, family-friendly activities and vendors, and much more!

CASA volunteers are superheroes, but being a CASA volunteer isn't right for everyone. So, we activate the Bat Signal and encourage everyone to be a superhero for children by participating in the CASA Superhero Run.

This year's event is hosted by CASA of Central Texas, CASA of Travis County, and CASA of Williamson County. Participants will designate which program they would like to support when registering.  Sign up today as an individual or create a super team. REGISTER TODAY!  
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.


Promote CASA at Your Business

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


Broadway Bank
Bulverde Dental 
Canyon Lake Animal Clinic  
Dr. Eugene Clark Library
Gracies Gold
Lockhart Senior Apartments
Lockhart Chamber of Commerce
Mason Lodge
Lockhart Family Medicine
Texas State Optical
Lockhart Senior Citizen Center
Luling Chamber of Commerce
Progressive Insurance 
Social Media

Follow CASA of Central Texas online to get information
and updates throughout the month!

Click the icons to follow us and help spread the word about CASA!

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View our profile on LinkedIn          View our videos on YouTube

Upcoming Events


      Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

8-10      National CASA Conference
              Grapevine, TX 

11th-     Voices Tour , noon
              San Marcos CASA office

18th-     Voices Tour , noon
              Lockhart First National Bank


     Voices Tour, noon
              New Braunfels CASA office

9th-       Voices Tour, noon
              San Marcos CASA office

9th-       New Volunteer Training Begins, 4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
              New Braunfels CASA office

10th-     New Volunteer Training Begins, 1 - 5 p.m.
              San Marcos CASA office

10th-     Voices Tour, noon
              Schertz GVEC Community Room

17th-     Voices Tour, noon
              Seguin GVEC Community Room

Stay Connected! 

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Phone: 830-626-2272

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