CASA Swears in New Volunteer!

CASA is thrilled to welcome our newest CASA volunteer, Markiea Evans, who was sworn in on October 5, 2018 by Judge Jaime E. Carrillo. Ms. Evans has chosen to be a part of our program because of her passion for children. Her passion helps us all come together and be a strong voice as we speak up for and on behalf of children in foster care.

When a child enters foster care because his or her home is no longer safe, a CASA volunteer can be appointed by a Judge to represent the child’s best interest. A volunteer guides a foster child through the child protective system with the goal of reaching a safe and permanent home. Volunteers often become one of the only consistent adults for a foster child, spending a significant amount of time with the child.

The work of a CASA volunteer also involves gathering information from everyone involved in the child’s daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, doctors and social workers. CASA volunteers use the information they collect to report to the Judge, advocating for the child’s physical and emotional needs. CASA volunteers are not foster parents; they are highly trained community advocates acting as a powerful voice for a child or sibling group.

CASA is currently seeking volunteers. To learn how you can help children in your community, please visit BecomeACASA.org or contact Nicole at 361.595.7233. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and be willing to commit to at least one year of advocacy. No special educational background or experience is required. Call today! Every child deserves a chance... It's You!

Markiea Adams and Judge Jaime E. Carrillo

Markiea Adams and Judge Jaime E. Carrillo

 

Dinner with CASA Save the Date

Brush Country CASA will be hosting a Dinner with CASA event on November 15, 2018 at 6:00 pm at the beautiful Salazar Building located at 200 E. Richard. This event is being put together in an effort to recruit new CASA volunteers. CASA will be inviting staff, board members and advocates to attend and request that all patrons bring a guest who they feel would make a great addition to our exceptional group of CASA volunteers.

Please mark your calendars! For more information about this event please contact Nicole Ortegon at 361.595.7233.

Save the Date

CASA Welcomes New Volunteer Supervisor

Brendy (Bre) Santiago

Brendy (Bre) Santiago

Brendy Santiago is our newest Brush Country CASA employee!  She serves in the role of Volunteer Supervisor.  Brendy and her family recently moved to Kingsville from an overseas assignment, but since Brendy was born in Texas and raised in New Mexico, this move was a homecoming for her!

 
Brendy received her Bachelor's of Science degree with a major in Sociology from Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in May 2000.  She met her husband at ENMU and they have been fortunate enough to be stationed around the world at numerous duty locations working for both the US Army and US Navy.  Her family started their overseas journey in Sasebo, Japan in 2002 and have since moved to La Maddalena, Italy; Darmstadt, Germany; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Manama Bahrain; Uijeongbu, South Korea, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Yokosuka, Japan; and now Kingsville, Texas!  She has an extensive background working with both the US Army Child, Youth and School (CYS) Services, and the US Navy Child and Youth Program (CYP).  Since NAS Kingsville will be their retirement duty station, Brendy is very excited to join the Brush Country CASA Team, to work with and support our CASA Volunteers who help make a positive differences within Our Community!

2018 Coastal Bend Day of Giving

On November 13, 2018, our community will come together for the Coastal Bend Day of Giving, and we need YOU to join us. It is 24 hours of unprecedented nonprofit giving—and it is your chance make a real difference, right here in our community.

If you love your lifting up children, then you love Brush Country CASA! And by showing your love through the Coastal Bend Day of Giving, you help sustain the organizations that give so much to our community. On that day, every donation and donor they get will go further to help them claim their share of $875,000 in matching dollars to further their mission. The amount donated will be matched and doubled, up to $17,500, raising at least $35,000 in just 24 hours!

Join me in supporting our community on November 13, 2018 by donating online. coastalbenddayofgiving.org. Fight hunger • Support children • Improve health • Reduce homelessness - right here in the Coastal Bend.

 

SUPPORT US!

Hang a flyer in your business or post it on Facebook!
Link to flyer HERE.
Like Brush Country CASA on Facebook Page HERE.

Tips for Safe Trick or Treating

In the spirit of Halloween here are a few tips for safe Trick or Treating!

Brush Country CASA wishes you all a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Trick-or-treating safety tips
1. Provide adult supervision
Trick or treat is safer – not to mention more fun – in groups, and adult supervision is essential. So get together with other adults and make an evening of it. Bring cellphones for quick pictures and emergencies, but leave them in your pockets to avoid getting distracted.

2. Stay on the sidewalks
The thrill of the holiday often factors into accidents as excited kids rush from door to door. Keep children on the sidewalks, and shepherd them carefully when they need to cross the road. In areas without sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road, facing traffic.

3. Carefully check candy
Check candy for choking hazards like gum and hard candies. Throw away any candy that is not sealed with a wrapper and avoid homemade treats received from strangers.

Costume safety tips
4. Choose bright, visible costumes
When selecting a costume, opt for the bright-colored outfits and add a touch of reflective tape to the material. Stick some reflective tape on their trick-or-treat bags as well so they can be easily spotted by motorists. Lastly, don’t forget to make sure they’re equipped with a flashlight or glow stick – must-have accessories for any costume.

5. Make sure costumes are well-fitted and safe
Being visible isn’t the only safety consideration for a costume. The right fit is just as important. Here’s some advice on keeping your child’s ensemble safe and secure:

Prevent accidental tripping or entanglement by making sure costumes aren’t too big or long
Avoid masks that block vision, but if your child wears one – it should have large eye, nose and mouth openings. You can also op for makeup or face paint as an alternative

Costumes, wigs and accessories should contain a label indicating they are flame resistant
Make sure accessories such as swords, canes, or sticks are not sharp or too long

6. Makeup safety
If makeup is a part of your child’s Halloween costume plans, make sure it is non-toxic and test it on a small area first. Before your child goes to bed, make sure to remove all makeup.

Home Safety Tips
7. Jack-o-lantern safety
Young children can paint or color their pumpkins instead of carving. Or have them draw a face with markers and an adult can do the carving. Use colorful glow sticks inside your Jack-o-lanterns instead of candles to prevent burns.

8. Home decoration safety
If you’re turning your home into a haunted house, keep safety in mind: make sure steps, sidewalks, porches and paths are well-lit and free of decorations and holiday props. Keep decorations away from fireplaces and candles.

9. Take precaution against pranks and vandalism
Unfortunately, vandalism often increases during Halloween. That’s why taking these precautions is a good idea:

If you’re going away during Halloween, make it seem like you’re still home by turning down the volume of your answering machine and phone, covering your garage windows, and leaving your curtains in normal positions with valuables out of sight.

Install outdoor lighting (activated by a photocell or movement) to illuminate the area around your home during Halloween.
Consider purchasing a security system that directly alerts police to intruders.

Trim shrubs and large trees before Halloween so trespassers have fewer hiding spots.
Make sure your homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date.

Car and driving safety tips
10. Use extra caution while driving
Drivers need to take particular care on this chaotic night. Keep your car parked if you can, but if you have to drive through a neighborhood, take it much slower than normal. Watch for kids who may dart between cars and into the road without looking. Read our Halloween Driving Safety Guide for more useful tips.

11. Protect your car
Cars are another common target of vandalism on Halloween. Here are some ways you can help secure your car:

Park inside if you can on Halloween. Your garage is your best bet. If you do not have a garage you may want to consider investing in some outdoor lighting for your driveway and yard.

Make sure your car is locked on Halloween. Oftentimes, vandals complete their missions with ease when doors are unlocked and windows are down/cracked.
Consider a car alarm.

Hide your valuables on Halloween. Don’t give thieves any extra incentive to break into your car.

Registration is Open for CASA 5K

Registration is now open for Brush Country CASA's upcoming Glow the Distance 5K. The 5K will be held of August 18, 2018 at the Dick Kleberg Park in Kingsville, Texas. Last years event brought in over 160 runners from all over South Texas. This year is proving to be BIGGER and BETTER than ever before!

To register please click HERE.Flyer

BINGO Fundraiser is a BIG success

Family Night Bingo Fundraiser for CASA was held on May 18, 2018 at the Elks Lodge in Kingsville, Texas. A lot of people showed up to test their luck playing for fantastic prizes. Nicole Ortegon, CASA Outreach Director, called the BINGO numbers with several guest helpers including Jennifer Rodriguez, CASA Executive Director, Clarissa Silva, Assistant District Attorney for Nueces County, J. Dean Craig, Assistant County Attorney in Kleberg County and DeeAnn Torres Miller, Corpus Christi Attorney.

All in all, this was a fantastic event bringing in over $2,000 for the CASA Program. CASA would like to give a special thank you to our Board of Directors, Sponsors and every single person in attendance for contributing to the success of this event. We appreciate you!

 

 

CASA Swears in New Volunteers

We are thrilled to welcome five new volunteers to our outstanding group of CASA volunteers. Gracie Vasquez, Karie Kriegel, Gina Garcia, Rachel Gomez and Alex Lopez were sworn in on June 15, 2018 by Judge Jaime E. Carrillo. 

Congratulations guys!! We are so, so happy to have you! You are going to be FANTASTIC volunteers.

CASA Helps Children Find a Forever Family

Thank you to the CASA volunteers for doing such a great job as a CASA volunteer. You had a helping hand placing these children in their forever homes. You all are really making a difference one child at a time!

Congratulations to the Smith and Trevino families on your new addition! We could not be happier for you!

Volunteer Appreciation

CASA Volunteers stand up without compromise for what is in the best interest of children who are in foster care due to abuse and neglect. They work tirelessly to insure that our children have everything they need to thrive rather than simply survive as they journey through the foster care system. Brush Country CASA is so grateful for our outstanding group of CASA volunteers. To show our appreciation we held a pool party for them and their families. All in all we had a "splashing" time!

We are truly grateful for our volunteers! Thank you for all you do!

KingDom Mattress & Furniture donates to CASA

Brush Country CASA would like to show our gratitude to Rocky Dominguez and KingDOM Mattress & Furniture for their generous donation of brand new furniture to CASA. Because of their generosity four of our CASA children have a comfy bed to lay their heads. We appreciate your support!!

 

 

Rocky

2018 Candlelight Vigil

 The candlelight vigil, which is held every April in recognition of Child Abuse Awareness Month, was jointly-sponsored by the Kleberg County Child Welfare Board, the Brush Country Court Appointed Special Advocates for children and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.  It was a great turnout all around we had local officers, judges,and people from the community join us in this event.

Celanese Donates to CASA

Brush Country CASA was presented with a check for $7,000 on Tuesday April 17th from Celanese Bishop Facility. CASA, along with several other non-profit organizations, was chosen to be a recipient of funding that was raised by Celanese employees through the Celanese Foundation which is an employee-led effort focused on improving quality of life for people in our community and around the world. The Celanese Foundation focuses on initiatives to improve the fundamental living conditions of people, with a special focus on families and children. Through partnerships in the community, Celanese employees guide the decision-making process and are involved in all aspects.

Brush Country CASA would like to sincerely thank the Celanese Bishop Facility and it's outstanding employees for their continued support and belief in our mission.

Brush Country CASA is a non profit organization who trains and supports community volunteers as they help to guide children through the foster care system. CASA volunteers are the one constant person in the child's life standing up without compromise for what is in their best interest. Every Child Deserves a Chance - It's YOU. Join us for volunteer training which begins May 15th at 9:00 am. Call 361.595.7233 to learn more.

Children’s Spring Festival

Brush Country CASA , Child Protective Services and the Child Welfare Board held two Spring Festivals in observation of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. The first Spring Fest. was held on April 14th in Alice, Texas at Veterans Plaza Park and proved to be a success despite the threat of rain. The second Spring Fest. was held on April 21st in Kingsville, Texas at Dick Kleberg Park. Each event brought in over 100 children and their families. With raffles, games, and prizes, both events were a real treat for our patrons.

We would like to thank Dee-Ann Torres, Margie Gonzalez, Ventura Gacia and Dennise Zimmerman for donating the bikes for our Festivals. We would also like to thank all of the vendors who came out to help make our event a success. We appreciate you.

CASA Volunteer Recruitment Efforts Underway in Jim Wells County

 
As the number of children in the custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services continues to rise, Brush Country CASA ramps up the search for community volunteers who will speak up for children in foster care. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers are desperately needed and right now there are more children in local foster care than the current volunteer base can serve. New CASA billboards have been placed in Alice, two off of N. Flournoy Road near Pizza Hut and one off of E. Main Street across from Pueblo Tires. Brush Country CASA will also host monthly information sessions on the second Wed. of the month from 12:00 pm to 12:45 pm at the Alice Chamber of Commerce, 612 E. Main Street. Anyone interested in becoming a CASA is encouraged to attend! 
 
"Our children are our greatest resource. It is very important that their voice is heard as they journey through the foster care system," said Nicole Ortegon, Outreach Director. "Our need for volunteers is urgent so we ask the citizens of Alice to take a stand against abuse and neglect, and advocate for our local children."
 
When a child enters foster care because his or her home is no longer safe, a CASA volunteer can be appointed by a Judge to represent the child’s best interest. This volunteer guides the child through the child protective system with the goal of finding a safe and permanent home. Volunteers often become one of the only consistent adults for a foster child, spending a significant amount of time with the child.
 
The work of a CASA volunteer also involves gathering information from everyone involved in the child’s daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, doctors and social workers. CASA volunteers gather information and report to the Judge, while advocating for the child’s physical, mental and emotional needs. CASA volunteers are not foster parents; they are highly trained community advocates with a powerful voice for a child or sibling group.
 
To learn how you can help children in your community, please join us for our first monthly info session on Wed. March 14th from 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm at the Alice Chamber of Commerce. Not from Alice? Find your local CASA program at BecomeACASA.org or contact Nicole at 361.595.7233. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and be willing to commit to at least one year of advocacy. No special educational background or experience is required.  Every child deserves a chance... It's YOU! Join the movement. Step up to help local kids today! Call now to get started.

CASA Welcomes New Volunteers

It is with great pleasure that we welcome a our newest CASA volunteers. These individuals have chosen to be a part of our program because of our mutual passion for children. Your passion helps us all come together and be a strong voice as we speak up for and on behalf of children in foster care.
 
When a child enters foster care because his or her home is no longer safe, a CASA volunteer can be appointed by a Judge to represent the child’s best interest. A volunteer guides a foster child through the child protective system with the goal of reaching a safe and permanent home. Volunteers often become one of the only consistent adults for a foster child, spending a significant amount of time with the child.
 
The work of a CASA volunteer also involves gathering information from everyone involved in the child’s daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, doctors and social workers. CASA volunteers use the information they collect to report to the Judge, advocating for the child’s physical and emotional needs. CASA volunteers are not foster parents; they are highly trained community advocates acting as a powerful voice for a child or sibling group.
 
To learn how you can help children in your community, find your local CASA program at BecomeACASA.org or contact Nicole at 361.595.7233. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and be willing to commit to at least one year of advocacy. No special educational background or experience is required. Call today! Every child deserves a chance... It's You!
 
Photo 1: From Left to Right- Bayley Irby, Cindy Christian, Ofelia Jimenez and Judge Jaime E. Carrillo.
Photo 2: From Left to Right - Autumn Peterson Williams, Julieana Harris, Judge Jame E. Carrillo, Sandra Rideout - Hanzak and Terry Hanzak
Photo 3: Allie Melendez, Nancy DeLeon and Judge Jaime E. Carrillo
 
 
                                                           

Texas Bar Foundation Donates to CASA

    Since its inception in 1965, the Texas bar Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation's largest charitably-funded bar foundation. On April 28, 2017, the Texas Bar Foundation awarded $5,000 to Brush Country CASA. 
 
    CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains a supports community volunteers. CASA volunteers get to know a child and everyone involved in the child's life to speak up for their best interest while in the foster care system. CASA volunteers help to keep abused and neglected children safe until they find a permanent, forever home. Volunteers are not foster parents; they are a voice making a difference at a critical point in a child's life. 
    
    Brush Country CASA is grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for their continued support. This grant will take us one step closer to reaching our goal of serving 100% of the children who are currently navigating through the foster care system alone. 
 
    You can make a difference! We are now seeking community volunteers in Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kleberg and Kenedy Counties. There were 302 children in our service area in foster care in 2016 and the number continues to grow. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, please contact Nicole Ortegon at 361.595.7233 or visit www.becomeacasa.org. Stand up for a child, so that they can stand a chance.