Meet Volunteer Advocate Elvira Roque

Meet Volunteer Advocate Elvira Roque

Nov 21 2013

Elvira Roque has 2 young children, a son and daughter, and loves spending time with them at local parks and museums. Elvira is currently a law student at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She originally moved to Austin from Dallas to attend the University of Texas where she received her undergraduate degree in government. Read More

47 children get forever families at Austin Adoption Day

47 children get forever families at Austin Adoption Day

Nov 13 2013

Courtrooms filled with stuffed animals. Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion skipping along the yellow brick road. Balloon rainbows arching across the hallways. It must be Adoption Day, one of the most joy-filled days Austin sees each year!

Last week 47 children were officially welcomed into their forever families on Adoption Day 2013. They went through the adoption court proceedings, took family portraits, made handprint arts and crafts, played at the CASA fishing booth, met clowns and magicians, and received personalized jewelry gifts to help remember this special day thanks to Kruger’s Diamond Jewelers.

This year, Glinda the Good Witch represented CASA during adoption ceremonies for 3 different children. This was CASA supervisor Audrey Sherman’s first year to play Glinda as part of our cast of Wizard of Oz characters, and she was incredibly excited to wear the big pink dress and tiara, as well as to be part of so many adoptions. Read more< Read More

I don’t know where I would be without you

I don’t know where I would be without you

Nov 06 2013

Dear Friends,

“I don’t know where I would be without you. I’d probably still be on the path to jail and not college. Carolyn, I don’t think you realize how much I appreciate you!”

This was the incredibly special email I received from Michael, one of my CASA kids, who I am extremely proud to say started college this fall. I want to share some of our story with you, in hopes that you will consider supporting more kids like Michael who need a little help reaching the right path.

When I became Michael’s CASA volunteer over four years ago, his path wasn’t so positive. Michael had been in and out of the Child Protective Services system since age six and he had serious anger and behavioral issues because of it. The first time I really got to talk with him, he was in juvenile detention after an altercation with a teacher. He had never been taught to deal with conflict in a positive way. He was embarrassed and angry, yet also polite and soft spoken.

I would visit him and we’d sit and talk. He always expected negative reactions to what he shared. When I didn’t react that way he became very open with me, realizing I wasn’t there to judge him but to genuinely listen, respect him and help. Read more< Read More

Meet Volunteer Advocate Flora Gray

Meet Volunteer Advocate Flora Gray

Oct 23 2013

By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine

Flora Gray was born in Louisiana and moved to Houston with her family in her early teens. She ultimately moved to the Austin area to be closer to her grandchildren. Flora was a single parent raising her one daughter, who is now a mother of two.

Flora shares that she dropped out of high school, but when she became a parent she “recognized that I had to do something since I couldn’t raise my child on minimum wages.” She went back to school, ultimately earned a degree in healthcare administration and has worked many years as a project manager in the healthcare IT industry. Read more< Read More

Children benefit when state agencies embrace House Bill 1462

Children benefit when state agencies embrace House Bill 1462

Oct 15 2013

By Cruz Correa

The 81st Texas Legislature adopted House Bill 1462 in 2009 and it reads in part:

"A state employee may be granted leave not to exceed five hours each month to participate in mandatory training or perform volunteer services for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or state compensatory time"

What this means is that state employees of Texas are able to use 5 hours of work time per month to volunteer with CASA of Travis County and any other CASA program in Texas. The Legislature recognized that CASA volunteers serve children who are, on at least a temporary basis, the state’s responsibility and so they offered to support state employees willing to make the commitment to volunteer their time to help these children. Read more< Read More