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!

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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.

 

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.