Mar 04 2020

What We're Into This March

To get through our work from home time, we’ve rounded up a new list of books, TV shows and podcasts that you can check out as you wait social distancing to wrap-up. Highlights this month include a podcast about how the body responds to stress, the final season of The Good Place and even an adorable pig to follow on Instagram (because who doesn’t need more cute animal content!). Read on for all the details!

If you’re Netflix queue is running low, watch

The Good Place Final Season streaming on Hulu

"My feelings about The Good Place have only gotten stronger since the series has aired its final episode (see my October review here). The Good Place is a tale of redemption by way of surreal situations, moral philosophy, and the connections we make along the way. The final season is all about giving back and recognizing our own potential while doing so. Eleanor feels the weight of the world on her shoulders as she and the entire Soul Squad attempt to better the afterlives of the newest arrivals in Neighborhood 12358W. As Season 4 unfolds, I cannot help but reflect on the volunteers of CASA. Just like The Soul Squad, CASA volunteers work earnestly for the betterment of children and families within unique and occasionally challenging situations. Eleanor at one point wonders how she will carry out such a big task. Eleanor is then reminded of the good work she had accomplished, the seen and unseen differences that she had made for others, and how she herself has learned and adapted along the way. Eleanor has an important role to play, but she is never alone in that process; she has her squad alongside her, and that they are working together to keep learning and keep trying. Trying is what truly makes the difference.  

If you are a fan of The Good Place, allow me a secondary recommendation of The Good Place: The Podcast. This podcast is rich in supplemental content for the tv series. In addition to episode-by-episode discussions, an assortment of cast and crew share anecdotes and insights into how each episode came together. The podcast ends each episode with the “What’s Good?” segment in which the panel takes an opportunity to reflect on something to them that is “Good.” Panelists have reflected on acts of kindness, a meaningful and well-timed joke on a hard day, or appreciating moments of quiet contemplation. Other guests discuss causes or charities to highlight, even how incredible a deli sandwich can be. The beauty of this segment is getting to learn more about something meaningful to another person. Having a gentle reminder of the Good that is happening in the world has been especially helpful for me. I am inspired by the fact that the podcast always ends with the phrase, “Now, go do something Good.” I am incredibly grateful for this TV series and podcast, as I am learning more about both myself and the world around me in a more uplifting light." - Ryan Broussard, Training Specialist

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez streaming on Netflix

Warning: This show references abuse and violence and may be challenging for some viewers to watch.

“The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez which was released on Netflix this week. A few members on my team brought it up in supervision and how it really reinforced to them the importance of CASA and speaking up for child safety when sometimes other parties on the case don’t have the capabilities or bandwidth to do so. It is a clear demonstration of how the system can fail kids and the fatal consequences of it.” – Anitra Edwards, Advocacy Program Manager

“It definitely shows the reality of how overworked CPS can be, and when they are overworked and “over-cased” critical thinking skills are decreased and sometimes miss things. This was a tough series to watch but I would call it ‘woke’.” – Gilbert Cantu, Child Advocacy Specialist

If you’re on the hunt for a good read, check out

Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk by Naomi Remen

Trauma Stewardship explores the ways that working in fields that expose staff and volunteers to the trauma of others can be taxing. The authors look at the various effects of observing and empathizing with others’ traumas and offers ways of approaching and responding to that exposure. What I personally really like about the book is that they talk about a lot of things we already know—that secondary trauma can change us, often not for the better, but they offer meaningful and realistic ways to continue doing this work without becoming overly cynical, hardened, or burned out. I loved this quote by one of the authors, Laura Lipsky: ‘Taking care of ourselves while taking care of others allows us to contribute to our societies with such impact that we will leave a legacy informed by our deepest wisdom and greatest gifts instead of burdened by our struggles and despair.’” – Catherine Jones, Senior Director of Program Innovation

If your work from home day is dragging along, tune into

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Podcast: The Angel and the Assassin

“It’s fascinating to learn about the ways that the body and brain are connected and affected by emotional stressors and trauma. Learning about the ways that cells not only protect us, but also can be overly-stimulated by stressors in ways that affect our mood and brain function can not only give us a better perspective and framework to explain what is happening to the kids we work with, but can also give us a better understanding of what we sometimes experience in our own lives as a result of chronic stress.” – Emily LeBlanc, Chief Program Officer

Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo—available on Apple and Google podcasts

Warning: This podcast mentions both suicide and sexual abuse.

“This podcast is about the search for Cleo, one in a sibling group of five indigenous children who were from Saskatchewan, Canada and adopted into separate white families across North America in the 1970s. Her siblings were told that Cleo was raped and murdered as she tried to hitchhike back to Saskatchewan after her adoption and they are in search of answers regarding what happened to her and where she is. This podcast highlights the importance of family connections and keeping children connected to their cultural roots, and how historical, familial, and generational trauma can have devastating effects. Additionally, it provides a context for understanding around issues that ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) is intended to protect.” – Audrey Sherman, CASA Volunteer

In the (hopefully not too distant) future, try to see this live

Broadway’s Come From Away by Irene Sankoff and David Hein

"I recently saw the musical Come From Away while it was in Austin. It was incredibly powerful! The play is based on a composite of stories from 9/11 of people whose flights were grounded in a small Canadian town, as well as the locals who cared for them during their unexpected stay. Not only was the production really well done, but the show was a great reminder of the impact sacrificial kindness can have in someone’s life, especially when they are in the midst of challenges or trauma." – Victoria Young, Senior Development Manager

And for some social media self-care (which means cute animals), follow

Esther the Wonder Pig on Instagram!

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– Recommendation courtesy of Ryan Broussard, Training Specialist

2020 March CASA Recommends

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