Featured: charitable giving

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

Featured: Candlelight Featured Image

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.

Featured: charitable giving

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.

Featured: spring

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.

Plea to the Community

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.
Featured image volunteers

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
 
 
                                                           
Featured: Texas Bar Foundation

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.
lat

CASA Day at the Capital is Around the Corner

CASA Day at the Capital is Around the Corner
 
Registration is now open for the 2017 CASA Day at the Capitol on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
The 2017 CASA Day at the Capitol is the day advocates join together, in a shared voice, to advocate for Texas children! Hundreds of CASA advocates from all over the state will fill the state capitol to share their personal stories of advocacy and discuss legislation that can impact the lives of children.
 
CASA Day at the Capitol is open to the entire CASA network of volunteers, staff and board members. Capitol Day is a free event. You must register to attendPlease contact Nicole at the CASA office, 361.595.7233 or by email at casarecruiter.7233@sbcglobal.net, for more information on how to register.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT OUR LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY TEAM PLEASE SEE BELOW.

WHAT IS LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY?
Legislative advocacy refers to efforts to influence the introduction, enactment, or modification of legislation. The most common means of legislative advocacy is direct lobbying, which entails contacting a legislator, sharing your views on an issue, and asking him or her to vote a specific way on a bill.
 
WHY IS LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY SO IMPORTANT?
Because it works! We can make a powerful impact on the child protection system by speaking up for children at the Capitol as well as in the courts. Legislators are more likely to listen and take action on a bill if they hear from their constituents that it is important. Without the help of volunteers across Texas, our priority bills are less likely to be successful. Your voice matters!
 
WHY ARE CASA VOLUNTEERS SUCH EFFECTIVE LEGISLATIVE ADVOCATES?
For the same reasons that they are effective advocates in court! CASA volunteers are: 
• Well trained to speak up for children professionally and persuasively.
• Motivated to serve the best interest of Texas’ most vulnerable children. 
• Motivated by the best interests of children and don’t have financial incentives or other hidden agendas when they speak up for children. 
• Community members, constituents and voters, which brings perspective and power to their advocacy. 
• Knowledgeable about how the child protection system works (and doesn’t work) and can share personal case examples of each, which helps to put a face on the issues. 
• Passionate about helping children. Their passion is contagious!
 
WHAT IS A LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY TEAM (LAT)?
A Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT) is a group of committed CASA volunteers who take their advocacy for children to the next level by using the experience and knowledge they have gained as volunteers to advocate for change in the child protection system. Each LAT has at least one chair: a volunteer who agrees to be the face of the LAT and the point of contact for the group. In addition to the chair, there is at least one CASA staffer who is responsible for supporting the team.
LATs enable volunteers to experience advocating for children on a larger scale. Knowing that you and other CASAs all over the state are working toward solutions to problems many of you encounter can bring another degree of satisfaction to your role as an advocate. You can be the voice to create change not only for the child(ren) for whom you advocate, but for every child in the child protection system!
 
There are many things that members of LATs can do, depending on their availability and comfort level. Some members feel comfortable writing letters to support changes to the system. Others might want to directly interact with legislators and their staff by meeting with them or inviting them to CASArelated events. CASA volunteers may testify before legislative committees, sharing a particular experience they have had in order to illustrate the relevancy of a bill. We encourage LATs to brainstorm activities quarterly, with Texas CASA’s assistance and support.

 

Car Show

Texas Independence Day set for March 4, 2017

The Kingsville Auto Club (KAC) has scheduled thier Texas Independence Day Car Show for March 4, 2017 at the Community Life Center Parking Lot on W. Kleberg Avenue in Kingsville, Texas. Pre-Registration is from 9 am - 11 am., show is from 11 am to 3 pm and awards will be presented at 2:45 pm. Spectators are welcome.

This is an open car show, so if you would like to show off your unique vehicle please feel free to register. Registration is $25 per vehicle and includes a T-shirt and dash plaque for the first 50 entries. Awards will be presented for the “TOP TEN”, Club Favorite, Bob Neely Memorial & Red Klassen Memorial.

Kingsville Auto Club is a car club open to all who have an interest in or own antiques, classics, street rods or other special interest vehicles. Each year the KAC hosts the Texas Independence Day Car show in an effort to raise money for two local non-profit organizations. Animal Rescue Kingsville (ARK), whose purpose is to place homeless and neglected cats and dogs into permanent homes. Their long-term goal is to reduce the number of stray animals in our community. In addition, they promote public awareness regarding the welfare of animals, and the prevention of over poulation by spaying and neutering. Brush Country Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is: to provide trained and qualified Court Appointed community Volunteers to Advocate for the best interests of Children who are before the Court as a result of abuse or neglect as defined by the State Child Welfare Laws.

For more information, contact:
Pres., Gene Rogers,(361) 246-0005 or Sec., Laura Pollard, (361) 592-6802

face

Nominate a CASA Campaign Underway

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE AN AMAZING CASA ADVOCATE?

Texas CASA's nominate a CASA campaign is underway!! This is an amazing opportunity for CASA programs to mulitiply by having existing volunteers, stakeholders, and friends of CASA nominate a friend to join in on this premier volunteer expereience.
 
If you know someone who you feel has the heartstrength and compassion to speak up for children, let us know!
Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who pledge to give their time helping children move through the foster care system. They are not foster parents, but advocates who speak on behalf of a child at court hearings and use their voice to put the best interests of the child first.
 
Being a CASA volunteer takes a special kind of person. If you know someone who you believe has the qualities to give children another chance, visit http://texascasa.org/nominate-a-casa/ and enter their information. Texas CASA will send them more information and let them know that you think so highly of them!
 
Don't have computer access, contact any of our CASA staff to help you submit your nomination!
Featured: Continuing Ed

2017 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 a 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! Turn these into Nicole Johnson to ensure that your continuing education hours are being accounted for correctly.

MOVIES, BOOKS, AND TELEVISON
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

When in doubt shoot Nicole an email, casarecruiter.7233@sbcglobal.net. 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!!!
 
 
 
Featured: Toy Drive

The Oil Field Militia hosts Toy Drive for Foster Children

The Oil Field Militia is a community organization made up of oilfield workers and their spouses who come together to contribute to the Community. Each year they host a toy drive for Child Protective Services (CPS) and Brush Country CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates.
 
This years event was held on November 26th in Kingsville, Texas and proved to be the biggest event to date. The Oilfield Militia's event was full of fun and entertainment including a raffle, life size character, Ballet Folklorico and Mariachi's. They also had home made menudo! 
 
With the help of the community, they were able to donate over 150 toys! We are so thankful for the Oil Field Militia and their continued support. Thank you so very much!
Featured: charitable giving

Stride for Health 5K/10K Generates Funds for Local Non-Profit

The First United Methodist Church in Kingsville hosted the Stride for Health 5K/10K on November 21, 2016. As part of their registration process, each participant is asked to vote for their favorite non-profit. The non-profit who receives the most votes is then awarded a $500 donation! This year, Brush Country CASA was lucky enough to be chosen as the recipient.
 
Brush Country CASA works with the community to recruit, train and support volunteers to help take a stand against child abuse and neglect in our area. Our volunteers are appointed to a child or sibling group who, due to abuse and neglect, are removed from their homes and placed in foster care. CASA volunteers work with these children and other stake holders to ensure their safety as they journey through the foster care system. CASA volunteers speak up for these children in court regarding education, medical, and placement issues. CASA volunteers are not foster parents, they are everyday community members, just like you, who have a big heart to help children right here in Kleberg County. The money awarded from the Stride for Health 5K/10K will be used to recruit and train more volunteers in our area.
 
CASA would like to thank the First United Methodist Church. We are honored to be nominated and given this amazing opportunity. We would also like to thank each and every participate for voting. We are forever grateful for your support. 
 
Every child deserves a chance - It's YOU! Contact Nicole at 361.595.7233 to sign up for our no obligation information session. Learn more about CASA and how you can make a difference in the life of a child.
Featured: charitable giving

Community Shares their Thanksgiving

Brush Country CASA would like to thank everyone who contributed to the 2016 Thanksgiving Food Drive. Each and every food item and monetary donation went a long way towards providing Thanksgiving meals for 12 CASA families.
 
CASA , or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains and supports community volunteers as they help guide children through the foster care system. CASA volunteers speak up for children in court. They are not foster parents; they are a voice who stands up, without compromise, for what is in the best interest of the foster children they serve. 
 
For more information about the CASA program or to provide a donation for our upcoming Christmas Tree/Decoration Drive please contact Nicole at 361.595.7233
 
Picture: The K-Town Ballers donated 12 Turkeys to CASA. Thank you for your contribution!!
Featured: Thank you

Coastal Bend Day of Giving – WE DID IT!

Thank You For Your Donation on the
Coastal Bend Day of Giving!

Thanks to your contribution not only did Brush Country CASA reach our goal of $16,670, we surpassed it by $3593.01! That's right, we raised a whopping 20,263.01!! $16,670 of those funds will be matched which brings our grand total to $36,933.01 raised in JUST ONE DAY! We COULD NOT have done it without your support!

Every Child Deserves a Chance!

Brush Country CASA will be using these funds to help us recruit, train and support CASA volunteers in our area. CASA volunteers keep abused and neglected children safe while they reach a safe, permanent home.

CASA volunteers speak up for a child in court. They are not foster parents, they are a voice making a difference at a critical point in a child's life. 

CASA volunteers get to know the child and everyone involved in the child's life to advocate for the child's best interests while in the foster care system.

Featured: 5K

Glow the Distance for CASA 5K HUGE Success!

With over 160 participants, The Glow the Distance for CASA 5K was one of Brush Country CASA's biggest events to date. Featuring a children's mile and a full 5K, The Glow the Distance for CASA 5K truly was a family event. Awards were issued to first, second, and third place males and females for each age group which ranged from 10 and under all the way up to 60+.  For a complete list of the results please visit www.brushcountrycasa.org
 
Brush Country CASA, a non-profit organization, supports community volunteers as they help children who have been abused and neglected in Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy and Kleberg Counties. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA volunteer, you can keep the children in your own county safe while they reach a safe, permanent home. CASA volunteers get to know the child and everyone involved in their life to speak up for their best interests while they are in the foster care system. You are not a foster parent, you are a voice making a difference at a critical point in a child's life. Brush Country CASA's mission is to have a CASA volunteer for every child in the foster care system.
 
The Glow the Distance for CASA 5K was wildly successful, generating over $4,800 for the CASA program. Brush Country CASA would like to thank: Our Board of Directors, Kleberg County Parks and Recreation, all of our community members who participated and volunteered, Chennel 69, The Knights of Columbus, DJ Rene, Amanda Martinez and last but certainly not least, we would like to thank each and every one of our sponsors without whom none of this would be possible.
 
For more information regarding CASA or The Glow the Distance for CASA 5K, please contact Nicole Johnson at 361.595.7233. To register to become a CASA volunteer please visit www.BecomeACASA.org.
lat

Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT) Retreat

WHAT IS LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY?
Legislative advocacy refers to efforts to influence the introduction, enactment, or modification of legislation. The most common means of legislative advocacy is direct lobbying, which entails contacting a legislator, sharing your views on an issue, and asking him or her to vote a specific way on a bill.

WHY IS LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY SO IMPORTANT?
Because it works! We can make a powerful impact on the child protection system by speaking up for children at the Capitol as well as in the courts. Legislators are more likely to listen and take action on a bill if they hear from their constituents that it is important. Without the help of volunteers across Texas, our priority bills are less likely to be successful. Your voice matters!

WHY ARE CASA VOLUNTEERS SUCH EFFECTIVE LEGISLATIVE ADVOCATES?
For the same reasons that they are effective advocates in court! CASA volunteers are:
• Well trained to speak up for children professionally and persuasively.
• Motivated to serve the best interest of Texas’ most vulnerable children.
• Motivated by the best interests of children and don’t have financial incentives or other hidden agendas when they speak up for children.
• Community members, constituents and voters, which brings perspective and power to their advocacy.
• Knowledgeable about how the child protection system works (and doesn’t work) and can share personal case examples of each, which helps to put a face on the issues.
• Passionate about helping children. Their passion is contagious!

WHAT IS A LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY TEAM (LAT)?
A Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT) is a group of committed CASA volunteers who take their advocacy for children to the next level by using the experience and knowledge they have gained as volunteers to advocate for change in the child protection system. Each LAT has at least one chair: a volunteer who agrees to be the face of the LAT and the point of contact for the group. In addition to the chair, there is at least one CASA staffer who is responsible for supporting the team.

LATs enable volunteers to experience advocating for children on a larger scale. Knowing that you and other CASAs all over the state are working toward solutions to problems many of you encounter can bring another degree of satisfaction to your role as an advocate. You can be the voice to create change not only for the child(ren) for whom you advocate, but for every child in the child protection system!

There are many things that members of LATs can do, depending on their availability and comfort level. Some members feel comfortable writing letters to support changes to the system. Others might want to directly interact with legislators and their staff by meeting with them or inviting them to CASArelated events. CASA volunteers may testify before legislative committees, sharing a particular experience they have had in order to illustrate the relevancy of a bill. We encourage LATs to brainstorm activities quarterly, with Texas CASA’s assistance and support.

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
The 85th Legislative Session begins in January so contact Nicole at 361.595.7233 today to learn more.
LAT training will be held in November 2016.