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.
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!
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
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
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!
Brush Country CASA would like to give a special thank you to the Alice Rotary Club for inviting Nicole to give a presentation at their weekly meeting. We are truly grateful to have been able to share our passion for CASA with the Alice Rotary Club.
On March 6, 2016 the County Attorney's Office held the 2nd Annual Easter Eggstravaganza which included activities for the children, door prizes, information from various resource centers in our community and an Easter Egg Hunt. The event is held to encourage the Community to stand together against crime. Whether dealing with issues of domestic violence, child abuse or any type of crime, it is important for us to stand together and report lawlessness in our community.
The Kingsville Auto Club hosted the Texas Independence Day Car Show to benefit Brush Country CASA and the Animal Rescue Kleberg (ARK). This year the Car Show was held on March 5, 2016. Approximately 50 vehicles entered for a chance to win an award which included "Top Ten", Club Favorite and Bob Neely & Red Klassen Memorials. Brush Country CASA would like to thank the Kingsville Auto Club for their continued support and belief in our mission.
Hundreds of people showed up for this years Orange Grove Family Night Out Health Fair on March 3, 2016. Over twenty exhibitors set up booths containing valuable information about the many services available in Jim Wells County. Brush Country CASA was among those exhibitors. Jennifer and Nicole spoke with many people about our program and the benefits it has for the children we serve. We are so grateful to have been invited to participate in this event and we look forward to next year.
“Out with the old and in with the new”— is a phrase often used by those who make a list of resolutions at the start of every New Year. Some resolve to kick bad habits like smoking or eating junk food; others may want to lose weight or spend less money.
Resolutions are different for everyone, but they all serve the same objective—to make life changes for the better.
If you’re looking for a new way to make changes, resolve to help others in need. More than 24,000 children in the Texas foster care system need caring adults to look out for them. They need a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate®) volunteer to help get through the foster care system as quickly as possible, and into loving homes where all their needs are met and their dreams can flourish.
Last year, 47,508 abused and neglected children were in the Texas foster care system. They were separated from their families, siblings, friends and other loved ones, and often placed in unfamiliar setting far away from their homes.
Child Protective Services workers usually handle two or three dozen cases, each of which can involve multiple children. As a result, many children fall through the cracks, stay in foster care longer than necessary and may not receive the help they need to begin to heal. The state of Texas is not a good parent. Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, permanent home.
Brush Country CASA has served 176 last year. More than 36 CASA volunteers spoke up for abused and neglected children who, through no fault of their own, ended up in foster care. Unfortunately, more than half of the children in care do not have CASA volunteers.
How can you help? Consider becoming a CASA volunteer and make a difference in a child’s life and your own. Talk to your friends and family members about CASA or invite us to give a presentation to your co-workers, group or organization. The number one way we recruit volunteers is through word of mouth!! To learn more please contact Nicole Johnson by calling 361-595-7233 or email email@example.com.
Every child in foster care needs someone to help them through this difficult time.
Riviera National Honor Society
Riviera National Honor Society chose CASA as the beneficiary of their service project this holiday season. They collected 17 stuffed animals, 7 coats and one blanket for our CASA children. Thank you Riviera NHS!! Keep up the outstanding work!
Pictured: Nicole Johnson, Brush Country CASA Outreach Director, Michael Catter and Gilley Aguilar.
Zimmerman Law Firm
Zimmerman Law Firm held their annual Adopt an Angel Toy Drive and collected an astronomical amount of toys for the children in Kleberg County. Thank you to Zimmerman Law Firm and all of the community members who participated. It is because of your support that our children are sure to have a Merry Christmas this year.
Pictured: Jeffrey Byrd, Brush Country CASA Volunteer, Brenda Navarro, Brush Country CASA Administrative Assistant, Melissa Salinas, Zimmerman Law Firm, Nicole Poritsanos, Brush Country CASA Volunteer and Denise Zimmerman, Zimmerman Law Firm
Girl Scouts Troop 9220
Brush Country CASA is so grateful for our good friends in The Girl Scouts Troop 9220 for their continued support. This year the girls used their cookie money to provide presents for 17 children in foster care. Thank you so very much for your generosity, girls. It means a lot to Brush Country CASA and the children we serve! Special thank you to Robin Vitale (not pictured) for always lending a helping hand to Brush Country CASA.
Pictured: (top) Sofia Gomez, Jordan Montalvo, Dakota Vitale, Mikayla Salinas and Heaven Salazar
(bottom) Faith Salazar, Briana Cessor and Meagan Barcena.
Navy Army Community Credit Union
Thank you to the staff and customers at Navy Army CCU!! We are so thankful to have friends like you in our community!
Pictured:Michelle Lozano and Nicole Johnson, Brush Country CASA Outreach Director
St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel and Newman Hall
St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel and Newman Hall held a toy drive for CASA this year which generated two large boxes of toys for the kiddos. Special thank you to Alex Lopez, Chris Mosher, Natalie James, Vanessa Valdez, Elizabeth Morales, Alexandria Brooks, Keleen McClure and all those who contributed to this toy drive. It was a BIG success! We appreciate all of you very much!!
The Cavalry Trail Riders Association
The Cavalry Trail Riders Association held a trail ride on December 5th in Orange Grove, Texas. The price to enter on the trail ride was an unwrapped toy for CASA. The Cavalry received a plethora of toys along with monetary donations which were used to purchase additional toys. Brush Country CASA was excited to participate in such a unique and exciting toy drive this holiday season. Thank you so very much to everyone involved in this fantastic organization. We had a blast!