CASA Welcomes New Volunteer Supervisor, Rachel Lahmon

Rachel Lahmon

Brush Country CASA is pleased to welcome Rachel Lahmon to our team! Rachel was raised in Ohio but moved to Texas about 6 years ago. She is married with 4 children who range in age from 5-15. She is a loving mother who spends her free time traveling, reading and volunteering for her children's cub scouts.

Prior to Rachel being hired with us she served a CASA advocate for approximately one year. She also served as the chair for our Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT). She had developed such a passion for LAT that she requested to become the LAT staff liaison to remain active with the team. Rachel will be helping guide our current Legislative Advocacy Team as we advocate for children at a State level.

All in all we are thrilled to have Rachel with us here at CASA. She is an amazing asset and we are so grateful for her hard work.

For more information about the Legislative Advocacy Team please do not hesitate to contact Rachel at rachel.lahmon@brushcountrycasa.org.

CASA Welcomes New Volunteers

We would like to welcome Joshua Sharp and Susan Benskin to our fantastic group of CASA Volunteers! Thank you so much for choosing to make a difference in the life of a child by advocating for their best interest in court. You are a true rockstar!!

 

2019 Continuing Education!

It's a NEW YEAR, a fresh start, and time to start thinking about your continuing education!

We, at CASA, have been searching high and low for new training classes, seminars and webinars so that getting your annual continuing education hours is easier than ever. In addition, we have a list of movies, books and tv shows you can watch at home! (Ask Nicole for more info.)

FREE CASA WEBINARS
Did you know that Texas CASA has CASA College resources on their website? CASA College is geared towards helping our volunteers learn more about several topics that may include everyday challenges within your case. Texas CASA has over 40 webinars available to you at the click of a button!

To register for CASA College please visit https://casacollege.myabsorb.com/#/login.
Click the "Sign Up" button to set up your username and password.
Once completed, you have instant access to all of the valuable information Texas CASA has to offer.

For help setting up your account please contact Nicole at 361.595.7233.
Don't forget to submit proof of attending any webinars! Submit them through Optima by selecting the training tab. More info below.

MOVIES, BOOKS, AND TELEVISION
A list of movies, books and tv shows are available for you to watch at home!
At times, we are unaware of just how many items we are reading and watching that can potentially go towards continuing education. (Ask Nicole for more info.)

Below is a list of a FEW topics that we accept:
Advocacy Skills
Child Permanence
Child Abuse and Neglect
Cultural Awareness
Domestic Violence
Family Dynamics
Substance Abuse
Survival Skills
Mental health
Foster Care 
SUBMITTING YOUR TIME IS EASIER THAN EVER
With Optima it is easier more than ever to submit your time! Simply click on the "Training" tab on the Optima dashboard and submit your time just like you would a contact log. Be sure to use the time conversion chart!

When in doubt shoot Nicole an email, nicole.ortegon@brushcountrycasa.org. She is happy to help.

Thank you so much for doing your part in helping Brush Country CASA stay in compliance with Texas CASA Standards.
We appreciate you!!!

Contact Log Time Conversion Chart

CASA's new database system, Optima, has brought us into the 21st century in a big way and we cannot be more satisfied with the results. We now have a common place to store case information making it accessible to CASA staff and the volunteer who is appointed to the specific case. It also makes entering contact logs and continuing education a breeze! During our time with the new system we have noticed that contact log times are being entered in a plethora of different ways. In an effort to keep the system more cohesive and make submitting reports to Texas CASA less time consuming for staff we are implementing a time conversion chart to help volunteers adhere to the new way of logging time.

Basically the rule of thumb is when logging your time into Optima you may only use the following Conversion Chart: .25, for anything up to 15 minutes, .50 for anything between 16 minutes - 30 minutes, .75 for anything between 31 minutes - 45 minutes, and 1.00 for 1 hour.  So if you are working on your court report for 1 hour and 10 minutes, go ahead and round the 10 minutes up to .25 (which is 15 minutes) and log your time as 1.25.

If you have any questions regarding Optima please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor. Nicole is also available to work with you one on one at anytime if you feel like you need a refresher.

 

Ranch Hand Concert Benefits CASA

This year, the Ranch Hand Weekend in Kingsville, Texas brought in a record breaking amount of folks from all over the country to experience an authentic Cowboy Breakfast at the legendary King Ranch. A new feature of the weekend was the Ranch Hand Weekend Concert which was held on Saturday, November 17th at the JK Northway Coliseum in Kingsville, Texas. The concert featured country musicians Cameran Nelson, Lauren Corzine and headliner, Micheal Ray. CASA is so excited to be named the beneficiary of the concert proceeds which raised over $11,000 for the program! Thank you so very much to the City of Kingsville Tourism Department for choosing to work with CASA. We are so grateful for your support!

Dinner with CASA Event

On November 15, 2018 CASA held its second Dinner with CASA recruitment event at the Salazar Building in Kingsville, Texas. This year we had a guest panel made up of Judge Carrillo, Debbie Cantu with CPS and two CASA volunteers. This was a wonderful event filled with great food and even better company. Thank you to everyone who lent a hand with this event. We are looking forward to hosting this event in Kingsville next November and we are currently working on getting a Dinner with CASA event set up in Alice this coming February.

 

Christmas Dinner for Local CASA Families

The Make a Change Help Others in Need - Kingsville Facebook page, hosted by Jennifer Cash, collected funds to provide Christmas Dinner to our CASA families this holiday season. It started out with a modest goal of $500 and snowballed into an even bigger success of bringing in a little over $1,500! With that money, Jennifer Cash, with the Make a Change Facebook page, and CASA were able to shop for 38 families this year!

 

2018 CASA Conference

Brush Country CASA attended the 2018 CASA Conference in Denton, Texas on October 18th - 20th. Hundreds of CASA staff, volunteers, board members and stakeholders were in attendance making this conference one of the biggest ones yet. One of the highlights was hearing from keynote speaker Steve Pemberton who is the author  of "A Chance in the World" which is the story of his life growing up in a broken foster care system. This is such a great book. It provides insight into the worst case scenarios for some of our children in care. We highly recommend picking up this book for continuing education. By the way, "A Chance in the World", will be made into a movie which is also eligible for continuing education so keep an eye out for that!!

Trailer for “A Chance in the World” movie.

Community Contributes to Christmas Cheer at CASA

This Holiday Season was an joyous one for Brush Country CASA due to the out-poor of community support. With the help of our friends we were able to secure gifts for every single child in our service area and then some! This is the biggest toy collection we have seen in the last five years at CASA! Thank you so very much for everyone involved in the collection process. Everyone from our lovely hosts, and to the public who came together to fill the need. We are forever grateful.