Meet Volunteer Advocate Melissa Winans

Meet Volunteer Advocate Melissa Winans

Mar 13 2013

By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine

Melissa Winans was born in Montana and grew up moving around a lot for her father’s career in the air frame industry. Her longest stint in one place was in Colorado Springs where she ultimately got her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College.

After college, she worked for the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, and then made the move to Austin to go back to school for her PhD in Geology at UT. She is now retired from a 36 year career working in technical support for the Texas Natural Science Center. Read more< Read More

More than a Month

More than a Month

Feb 18 2013

By Nashielly Victoria

February, like most months, seems to just fly by.  It’s the shortest month of the year after all, but it also hosts the chocolaty Valentine’s Day holiday, my lovely mother’s birthday, leap year every now and then, and, oh yeah, the theme of this post:  Black History Month.  What does Black History Month mean to you?  Why is it during the shortest month of the year?  Isn’t Black History also American (U.S.) History?  Shouldn’t it be year-round?  Should Black History Month be ended?  I recently saw a thought-provoking film entitled More than a Month that tackles these questions.

The film follows the journey of Shukree Hassan Tilgham, a young African-American filmmaker born to activist parents who, at first, have trouble understanding why their son would want to end Black History Month.  Tilgham embarks on a cross-country journey to end the monthly celebration when school children learn about Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks.  During this journey, he takes the audience on a ride that reveals history, thoughts and public opinion, but he does so in a remarkably humble way making it wonderfully intimate.  Read more< Read More

Volunteers speak up for all children in foster care at the Capitol

Volunteers speak up for all children in foster care at the Capitol

Feb 11 2013

By Laura Wolf

As you know, CASA volunteers spend most of their time advocating for one child or family of children on one specific case, but on January 30th many of our volunteers joined forces to advocate for all the children we serve, and those we aren’t yet able to serve. CASA Day at the Capitol brings together CASA volunteers from across the state to advocate on behalf of all children in foster care. On Capitol Day, volunteer advocates bring their voices to speak up for children at the legislature just like they would normally speak up for children in the courtroom.

During Capitol Day on January 30th, 28 volunteers and staff from CASA of Travis County met with our local elected officials, and we are so proud of them for sharing their stories and thoughts about their work with children. Becky Tuckfield shared her pride in helping children saying, “I’ve been in court and heard the judge turn my words into court orders.” Read more< Read More

The Tale of the Star Child

Feb 07 2013

Star Child by Zoltan David

By Robin Bradford

Who doesn't love a fairy tale? This story boasts all the elements of a good one: a beautiful wish-granting godmother and a kindly knight who together conspire to rescue children from tough circumstances through the enchantment of magical jewels.

Well, sort of.

Rhonda Chandler doesn't actually own a magic wand, but as a CASA volunteer for the past four years she's made a lifelong difference for the eight children for whom she's advocated. Whether it's taking the kids rock-climbing, talking with their teachers about their academic needs or updating the judge on how they are doing, Rhonda works magic for children who've experienced abuse or neglect. Recently, she took on an additional role as chair of CASAblanca, CASA's annual gala. Attended by some 500 guests, the event raises a full 13% of CASA's annual budget. Read more< Read More

Meet Volunteer Advocate Sarah Gray

Meet Volunteer Advocate Sarah Gray

Feb 05 2013

By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine

Sarah Gray grew up in the city of Santa Marta in Colombia. She moved to the states in 2000 and lived in Florida and New Hampshire before coming to Texas. She has two bachelor’s degrees from Florida Atlantic University – one in political science and the other in international business and marketing.

She’s currently working on her masters in project management online through Boston University. Sarah is a research coordination specialist for a pharmaceutical development company here in Austin. She’s “addicted to reading” and really enjoys blogging about her life and writing zombie movie reviews. Read more< Read More