CASA volunteers head back to school

CASA volunteers head back to school

Aug 20 2013

By Callie Langford

As we all prepare to head back to school this fall, our CASA volunteers are spending a little extra time in the classroom as well. Dozens of CASA volunteers participated this summer in our continuing education series on advocacy for CASA children in the classroom. “Children in care face a lot of educational hurdles, starting with neglect by their parents and made worse by the frequently chaotic nature of being caught up in a CPS case.  Getting an adequate education is very important to their futures, and this is an area in which CASA can make a significant contribution by monitoring the child's educational progress and providing encouragement to everyone involved in the educational process,” said Melissa Winans, a CASA volunteer who attended the whole series and led one of the trainings.

“The CASA volunteers’ connection and presence in our children’s school is crucial. Placement changes with children moving to different foster homes and schools can frequently create confusion and important information can be lost. CASA volunteers can provide consistency and the continuity necessary to ease those transitions so kids can be as successful in school as possible,” said Mary Nicosia, Volunteer Retention Specialist, who planned this series of trainings. Read more< Read More

Meet Volunteer Advocate Jacqueline Hill

Meet Volunteer Advocate Jacqueline Hill

Aug 15 2013

By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine

Jacqueline Hill was born in Rochester, New York, and lived in several different cities before moving to Austin in 2001 to be close to her parents. She’s one of five children and comes from a very close family.

Jacqueline works as the Human Resources Manager for Goodwill Industries, and has an MBA from Northwestern University an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. She spends her free time travelling, learning languages, going to concerts and writing. She is currently working on her first novel.

Jacqueline became a CASA volunteer over a year ago... Read more< Read More

Knowing Who You Are brings race/ethnicity discussion to CASA

Knowing Who You Are brings race/ethnicity discussion to CASA

Jul 16 2013

By Bri Ates

On June 14th and 15th, CASA volunteers and staff joined us at our offices for Knowing Who You Are, a 2-day workshop focused on building cultural competency among child advocates to help children develop the healthy racial and ethnic identity that will be crucial to them growing up to be confident and positive individuals. Our newest program intern, Bri Ates, attended this recent training and shares her experience with us today:

Knowing Who You Are (KWYA) was such an awesome experience! What I remember most from KWYA would have to be having courageous conversations and the feeling of safeness that was created by the group of CASA volunteers and staff. KWYA consisted of both online and in-person training. The in-depth online training was to be completed beforehand, which said a great deal to me about the participants’ commitment. Read more< Read More

Meet Volunteer Advocate Juliet Castaneda

Meet Volunteer Advocate Juliet Castaneda

Jul 09 2013

By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine

Juliet Castañeda, originally from Mission, Texas, grew up as a migrant farm worker with her large family of ten and spent much of her youth traveling to many northern states for her family’s work. She remains very close to her family, especially her twin brother, who is named Romeo.

She moved to Austin to attend St. Edwards University where she received her degree in Elementary Education. She currently works as the Training Specialist for Texas CASA. Read more< Read More

CASA brings hope to an aunt worried about her family

CASA brings hope to an aunt worried about her family

Jul 03 2013

By Martha Hopkins

Two years ago, a 7-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy, and their 5-year-old brother went with their parents and grandparents to a neighborhood community center in Tennessee. The purpose, the children thought, was to play for the evening. In fact, it was a last ditch effort for Child Protective Services (CPS) to interview the family and see if they could, in good conscience, allow the children to remain in the parents’ home.

They could not.

Five police officers walked into the community center, and the case workers told the children to say their goodbyes. The officers and two CPS workers escorted the children to two cars and drove them to a foster home in the suburbs.

When they arrived at the foster home, the little girl told her older brother she was scared. “Pretend like you’re on vacation,” he said. She has not spoken since. That was 20 months ago. Read more< Read More