Continuing Education – VERY IMPORTANT INFO FOR VOLUNTEERS

Brush Country CASA works diligently to provide new and informative continuing education topics to empower our volunteers to be the best that they can be for the children they serve. We have recently implemented a Continuing Education Review Form which allows our volunteers to document time spent reading books and articles or watching television programs and movies pertaining to topics relating to family dynamics, substance abuse, laws and permanency, etc. We will continue to email our volunteers of in-service opportunities such as webinars, seminars/conferences, and in-office training classes.
 
As a reminder, National CASA and Texas CASA Standards require each volunteer to maintain 12 hours of continuing education annually.  Standard 7. C. Volunteer Training it states,
 
1. The CASA/GAL program delivers training to volunteers using the National CASA Volunteer
Training Curriculum or its equivalent. All such training materials are subject to review and
revision by Texas CASA. The purpose of the training is to increase the knowledge, skills and
abilities of volunteers so that they can fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a CASA
volunteer.
 
2. The training consists of and the program documents at least 30 hours of required pre-service
training and 12 hours of required in-service training per year. The number of in-service 
training hours required for newly trained volunteers will be adjusted (or prorated) dependent 
on the time of year the volunteer is trained.
 
In standard 7. F. Dismissal of a CASA Volunteer it states,
 
2. Appropriate grounds for dismissal of a CASA volunteer include, but are not limited to:
 
   a. Taking action without program or court approval which endangers the child or is
   outside the role or authority of the CASA/GAL program.
   b. Engaging in ex-parte communication with the court.
   c. Violating a program policy, court rule or law.
   d. Failing to complete required pre-service and in-service training. 
   e. Failing to demonstrate an ability to effectively carry out assigned duties.
   f. Falsifying a volunteer application or misrepresenting facts during the screening
   process.
   g. Having allegations of child abuse/neglect brought against them.
   h. Experiencing an irresolvable conflict of interest.
 
If you have any questions regarding any of the above information please do not hesitate to contact us. We respect your commitment to CASA.  Thank you.

USBORNE BOOKS CONSULTANTS DONATE BOOKS TO CASA

Heather Bilbrey joined forces with Jeanette Yocum, Usborne Books & More Educational Consultant, to raise funds by raffling off a "Basket of Books" filled with some of their most popular children's books. Usborne and Kane Miller books are the most exciting, engaging and educational books on the market today. They are high in quality, innovative, lavishly-illustrated and best of all, they are the books kids love to read. 
 
With the help of community members Heather and Jeanette were able to deliver a little over $2000 worth of FREE books to Brush Country CASA on June 20th. Heather and Jeanette hand picked the books to suit the needs of each age group and were able to purchase enough books for 125 children. Each child is able to receive 2 books. Brush Country CASA is so grateful to Heather, Jeanette and all those at Usborne Books. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser.

Ivan Jaime of Union Pacific stopped by the Brush Country CASA office on June 7th to present a check for over $7,000. With the support of our friends, like Union Pacific, Brush Country CASA is able to provide a CASA volunteers to children in foster care. CASA Volunteers get to know the child and everyone involved in the child's life in order to stand up for the child's best interests while they are in foster care. Their voice makes an everlasting difference at a critical point in the child's life.
 
Thank you Union Pacific. We are forever grateful for your generosit

Usborne Books & More Consultant Hosts Raffle for CASA

Heather Bilbrey, an Educational Consultant for Usborne Books & More, has been familiar with Brush Country CASA for some time. Due to time constraints, Mrs. Bilbrey knew that she could not volunteer as an advocate; however, she decided to help out in a different way. 
 
Mrs. Bilbrey joined forces with Jeanette Yocum, Usborne Books & More Educational Consultant, to raise funds by raffling off a "Basket of Books" filled with some of their most popular children's books. Usborne and Kane Miller books are the most exciting, engaging and educational books on the market today. They are high in quality, innovative, lavishly-illustrated and best of all, they are the books kids love to read. 
 
Usborne Books & Moore will be matching 50% of the funds raised through the Basket of Books Raffle. The funds will then be used to purchase books for the 112 children being served by Brush Country CASA. 
 
Brush Country CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers as they help to guide children through the foster care system by getting to know the child and everyone involved in the child's life. The volunteer then speaks up for their best interests in court. As a CASA volunteer you are not a foster parent, you are a voice making a difference at a critical point in a child's life.
 
Congratulations to Melody Cadena for winning the raffle. We hope you enjoy your new Usborne books!!

Tournament of Champions Check Presentation

The 4th Annual Tournament of Champions was held on Saturday, April 30th at the Celanese Bishop Facility Park in Bishop, Texas. The event raised over $3,000 for our local CASA Program. Brush Country CASA is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to recruit, train and support community volunteers as they help to guide children through the foster care system.

Brush Country CASA would like to extend a heart felt thank you to the wonderful people at Celanese for their continued support and belief in our mission.

CASA Welcomes a New Volunteer

Brush Country CASA would like to welcome Vilma Cisneros to our wonderful group of volunteers! Vilma was sworn in on May 11, 2016 by Judge Micheal Garcia at the Jim Wells County Courthouse in Alice, Texas. Congratulations on completing your training towards become a CASA volunteer. We are so happy to have her in our CASA Family!!!

Brush Country CASA has Moved

We are so happy to announce that our Kingsville CASA office has moved to a new location. The new Kingsville office is located at 203 S. 10th Street. We have been looking for a new office space for quite some time and we are so excited that we finally found a place that suits our needs. If further assistance is needed, please do not hesitate to contact us at 361.595.7233. Our phone numbers and email addresses remain the same. We look forward to serving you at our new location.

Celanese Tournament of Champions

Celanese Bishop Facility hosted the 4th Annual Tournament of Champions to benefit Brush Country CASA. Participants participated in a series of events including horse shoes, corn hole and golf chipping. First and second place winners were awarded. All of the prizes, food and some of the silent auction items were donated by Celanese and their sponsors.

Brush Country CASA would like to thank everyone at Celanese for hosting this event for us. We are very appreciative of their continued support. Special thank you to our staff, board members and volunteers for donating snacks and goodies for our bake sale and lending a helping hand at the event. We can't thank you enough!

Kappa Delta Pi Holds Backpack Drive for CASA

Brush Country CASA would like to thank the Chi Upsilon Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education (KDP) for their outstanding contribution to our program. On April 24, 2016 members of KDP and the Texas Association of Students in Bilingual Education teamed up to host a Backpack drive for CASA. Members set up booths at both entrances of Wal-Mart in Kingsville, Texas. By the end of the day they collected 32 backpacks and over $1,000 in monetary donations to be used to purchase school supplies and additional backpacks for children in foster care.

Thank you to both student organizations at Texas A&M University-Kingsville for your dedication to the children in your community. We are forever grateful for your support.

 
 
 
 
 

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

The heart and soul of every CASA program is their outstanding group of committed volunteers. Brush Country CASA strives everyday to remind our volunteers how valuable they are to us and to the children that they represent. During the month of April we like to take that one step further by hosting a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week. This year we treated our volunteers to dinner at the End Zone in Alice, Texas.

Our Volunteers are one of a kind. We can't thank you enough for all of your dedication to the children we serve. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

Children’s Spring Festivals

Each year Brush Country CASA, Child Protective Services and the Child Welfare Board host a Children's Spring Festival in both Kingsville and Alice in observation of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Children's Spring Festival is a free event geared towards promoting family unity. Free food, games, and prizes are offered along with music and dance competitions for the children. With the help of our wonderful sponsors, this year proved to be even bigger and better than previous years.
 
We are so grateful for everyone who played a part in making the Children's Spring Festival such an amazing opportunity for family bonding. 

CASA Swears in Two New Volunteers

Brush Country CASA is thrilled to welcome two new volunteers to our amazing group of advocates. Kara Ramos was sworn in on April 15, 2016 and Yesenia Martinez was sworn in on April 26, 2016 by Judge Pete De La Garza in Kleberg County. Thank you so very much for taking time to help guide our children through the foster care system. Both of you are going to be a wonderful addition to our team.

TAMUK Criminology Club Donates Teddy Bears to CASA

Each year the Criminology Club at Texas A&M University Kingsville holds a Teddy Bear Drive for Brush Country CASA. This year over 100 stuffed animals were collected making this the biggest donation to date. Thank you to the Criminology Club for their outstanding contribution to Brush Country CASA. The children are going to love them!

Candlelight Vigils

Brush Country CASA, Child Protective Services and the Child Welfare Board held Candlelight Vigils in Brooks, Jim Wells and Kleberg Counties in observation of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Key figures in our community were present to speak about child abuse in our own backyards. We are so grateful for everyone who helped to make this years Vigils a success.

 
 

Usborne Books & More Consultant Hosts Raffle for CASA

Heather Bilbrey, an Educational Consultant for Usborne Books & More, has been familiar with Brush Country CASA for some time. Due to time constraints, Mrs. Bilbrey knew that she could not volunteer as an advocate; however, she decided to help out in a different way.

Mrs. Bilbrey joined forces with Jeanette Yocum, Usborne Books & More Educational Consultant, to raise funds by raffling off a "Basket of Books" filled with some of their most popular children's books. Usborne and Kane Miller books are the most exciting, engaging and educational books on the market today. They are high in quality, innovative, lavishly-illustrated and best of all, they are the books kids love to read.

Usborne Books & Moore will be matching 50% of the funds raised through the Basket of Books Raffle. The funds will then be used to purchase books for the 112 children being served by Brush Country CASA.

Brush Country CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers as they help to guide children through the foster care system by getting to know the child and everyone involved in the child's life. The volunteer then speaks up for their best interests in court. As a CASA volunteer you are not a foster parent, you are a voice making a difference at a critical point in a child's life.

Congratulations to Melody Cadena for winning the raffle! We hope you enjoy your new Usborne Books!

Heather Bilbrey, an Educational Consultant for Usborne Books & More, has been familiar with Brush Country CASA for some time. Due to time constraints, Mrs. Bilbrey knew that she could not volunteer as an advocate; however, she decided to help out in a different way. 
 
Mrs. Bilbrey joined forces with Jeanette Yocum, Usborne Books & More Educational Consultant, to raise funds by raffling off a "Basket of Books" filled with some of their most popular children's books. Usborne and Kane Miller books are the most exciting, engaging and educational books on the market today. They are high in quality, innovative, lavishly-illustrated and best of all, they are the books kids love to read. 
 
Usborne Books & Moore will be matching 50% of the funds raised through the Basket of Books Raffle. The funds will then be used to purchase books for the 112 children being served by Brush Country CASA. 
 
Brush Country CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers as they help to guide children through the foster care system by getting to know the child and everyone involved in the child's life. The volunteer then speaks up for their best interests in court. As a CASA volunteer you are not a foster parent, you are a voice making a difference at a critical point in a child's life.
 
Congratulations to Melody Cadena for winning the raffle!! 

Plea to the Community Lunch and Learn

CASA Volunteers help to keep abused and neglected children safe while they reach a safe, permanent home. They do this by gathering information regarding a child or sibling group and speaking up for them in court. Children in foster care with CASA volunteers are less likely to be in long-term foster care, more likely to get the services they need to heal and thrive, more likely to have positive attitudes about their futures and more likely to pass all of their classes in school. Unfortunately, we do not have enough volunteers to serve the children in our community. Children are falling through the cracks of the system and there is no one there to speak up for them.

In an effort to raise community awareness and hopefully recruit new volunteers, CASA decided to move forward with a "Plea to the Community" campaign which was a series of events specifically geared towards recruitment and community education.

On March 31, 2016, over 30 people were in attendance as Rita Sandt, MS, LPC, Senior Foster Care Trainer for Cenpatico, gave an outstanding presentation about Child Abuse and Neglect.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Coastal Bend College, HEB and Rita Sandt for helping make this event a great success

CASA Volunteer Swear In

Brush Country CASA is proud to welcome Claudia DeLaTorre into our wonderful group of dedicated advocates. She was sworn in by Judge Pete DelaGarza on March 21, 2016 in Kingsville, Texas. CASA volunteers offer children a consistent helping hand to guide them through the foster care system and a strong voice speaking up on their behalf.

CASA volunteers are not a foster parents, they are the voice making a difference at a critical point in a child's life. Help make sure that no child falls through the cracks of the system. Please call Nicole at 361.595.7233 for more information

Easter Celebration and Health Fair

An Easter Celebration and Community Health Fair was scheduled for March 19, 2016 at the high school in Falfurrias, Texas. Multiple booths with different services such as monitoring blood sugar and blood pressure readings were present. They also had vendors providing valuable health and wellness information. Perhaps the best part of the event was the amazing performances by the students in the Falfurrias Independent School District.
Thank you so much for allowing CASA to take part in this amazing event. We had a blast!