Children’s Spring Festival – Jim Wells County

The 2nd Annual Children's Spring Festival in Jim Wells County was held on April 25, 2015 in Alice, Texas. Brush Country CASA, The Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Child Welfare Board teamed up to bring this event to the children and families of Jim Wells County. Around 100 patrons braved the mosquitoes to join us for fun under the sun at Anderson Park. A special thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this event.

Children’s Spring Festivals in Kleberg County

Brush Country CASA, The Department of Family and Protective Services and The Kleberg County Child Welfare Board hosted the 10th Annual Children's Spring Festival at the Dick Kleberg Park Recreation Center in Kingsville, Texas on April 18, 2015. The festival is held in observation of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Despite the unpredictable weather over 100 patrons showed up to help bring awareness to child abuse in Kleberg County. 10 years ago Ms. Monica Pena, CPS, wanted to reach out to the community and host an event for families to attend together so she and her co-workers went to work and held the 1st ever Children's Spring Festival in 2005. Over the years the event gained momentum and grew into what it is today. We are forever grateful to Ms. Monica, CPS, The Kleberg County Child Welfare Board, and everyone else who has contributed to make this event a success year after year.

2014 DFPS Annual Report and Data Book Released

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) released their reports for 2014 earlier this week. Below you will find the statistics that pertain to Brush Country CASA's service areas. Based on these statistics Brush Country CASA Volunteers served 172 of the 240 children in DFPS Custody. That is 72% of children served. Brush Country CASA’s goal is 100% of children served. If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer please contact the CASA office at 361-595-7233. For the complete Annual Report and Data Book please visit http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/About_DFPS/Data_Books_and_Annual_Reports/2014/default.asp.

Brush Country CASA Featured in Family Magazine

Brush Country CASA is excited to be featured in the February issue of Kingsville Family Magazine which is a new monthly family and community publication for Kingsville and surrounding areas. The primary focus of the magazine is family and the community. Their monthly issues feature informative articles, columns, community events, education, finance, local resources and much more. CASA's article touched on the important work our volunteer do for the children in our community while emphasizing on the staggering number of children who are still waiting for a CASA. We would like to extend a special thank you to Claudia Rivas Acosta for including us in this months issue. To view February's issue visit http://issuu.com/kingsvillefamilymagazine/docs/february_2015/1. For more information about the Kingsville Family Magazine please send an email to info@kingsvillefamilymag.com.

Youth Making a Difference (YMAD) Book Drive

The Youth Making a Difference (YMAD) group are a team of students from Collins-Parr Elementary School in San Diego, Texas who do several civic-minded activities in the community. YMAD held a book drive for Brush Country CASA and collected upwards of 250 books for CASA which will be given to children in foster care throughout our area. We are so very thankful for this generous donation. CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers who then help guide children through the foster care system. CASA volunteers are average people with big hearts who want to make a difference in the life of a child. For more information on Brush Country CASA please call Nicole at 361-595-7233.

Zimmerman Law Firm Hosts Adopt an Angel

Brush Country CASA is grateful to have been included in Zimmerman Law Firms Adopt an Angel Program this year. Angels were placed on a special Christmas tree with the name, age and special interests of a child in need. Folks were then encouraged to stop by the office and choose one or several angels to sponsor. Thank you Zimmerman Law Firm and all of the sponsors for making Christmas memorable for so many children in our community. We truly appreciate your support.

Ms. Zimmerman and Judge Mendoza

Navy Army Staff and Customers Collect Toys for CASA Children

Brush Country CASA would like to thank the staff and members of Navy Army Community Credit Union for generously donating toys to CASA children right here in Kleberg County. CASA is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers as they help guide children through the foster care system. The child victims of abuse and neglect in our community are desperately seeking someone to be their voice and to advocate for their safety and happiness. Will you be that voice? If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a difference in the life of a child contact Nicole Johnson at 361-595-7233. Training class begins on January 13, 2015

Oil Field Militia Hosts Toy Drive for CASA Children in Jim Wells County

The Oil Field Militia (OFM) is an organization made up of oilfield workers who go above and beyond to give back to the communities in which they reside. This year the OFM took an interest in helping CASA. CASA is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains and supports community volunteers who then help guide children through the foster care system. The OFM held a successful toy drive this past weekend in an effort to provide toys for the children in Jim Wells County who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. We are truly grateful to the OFM for supporting Brush Country CASA and the children they serve. A special thank you goes out to Joe Lozano and Alfred Garcia for hosting the toy drive. If you would like more information about donating to CASA please contact Nicole Johnson at 361-595-7233.

Dr. Boyde’s Office Plays Santa’s Helper for CASA Children in Kleberg County

The wonderful staff and patients from Dr. Boyd's office in Kingsville played Santa's Helper by collecting toys for CASA this holiday season. CASA is a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping children, removed from their abusive homes, find a safe, permanent and loving home. All of the toys collected will go directly to CASA children right here in Kleberg County. Thank you so much Dr. Boyd, staff and patients, for continuing to help children from birth and beyond. We truly appreciate your continued support and belief in our mission.

From Left to Right: Ramon Ramos, Mary Ann Zamora, Mary Luera, Joanna Lopez, Leslie Obregon, Erica Gonzalez

Wells Fargo donates to Brush Country CASA

Brush Country CASA would like to thank Wells Fargo Bank for their generous donation.  We are so blessed to have friends like Wells Fargo Bank who are always willing to lend a helping hand.  CASA is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers as they help guide children through the foster care system. The child victims of abuse and neglect in our community are desperately seeking someone to be their voice and to advocate for their safety and happiness.  Will you be that voice?   If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a difference in the life of a child contact Nicole Johnson at 361-595-7233. Training class begins on January 13, 2015

The Girl Scouts Troop 9220 share their Christmas with Children in Foster Care

Girl Scout Troop 9220 generously donated over 50 gifts to Brush Country CASA for children in foster care. CASA is a non-profit organization whose volunteers listen, speak up, and advocate for the best interest of children who are navigating the foster care system. "We are so appreciative of the support shown by Girl Scout Troop 9220," said Nicole Johnson, Outreach Director for Brush Country CASA, "Not only did they donate toys, but they also help with our float for the La Posada Parade." Thank you so very much, Girl Scout Troop 9220, for helping other children to have a blessed Holiday.

La Posada Christmas Parade

This year Brush Country CASA participated in the La Posada Christmas Parade in Kingsville, Texas. The theme for this years parade was "Go Green Christmas: Recycle, Reuse, and Rejoice". The CASA entry was titled, "A Brush Country Christmas," and CASA staff and volunteers worked diligently to come up with recycled decorations. Our float featured a 6 foot tall Christmas tree made entirely out of recycled cans and cardboard was used to create a large gingerbread house and gingerbread men.

The Second Annual Tree of Angels

In 1991, the Tree of Angels was initiated by People Against Violent Crime. The Tree of Angels recognizes that the holiday season is a difficult time for victims and their families. This special event honors surviving victims of violent crimes and their families by making it possible for loved ones to bring an Angel Ornament to place on a special Christmas tree. It is a reverent forum for the community to join together to remember, include and support victims of crimes who are part of our lives and communities. Above all, the Tree of Angels is an expression of realization of life. Since its inception, the Tree of Angels has become a memorable tradition observed throughout Texas communities.

Lions Club Donates to Brush Country CASA

On December 12th The Kingsville Noon Lions Club paid a visit to the CASA office to present a generous donation. According to the Lions Club International Website, "Lions meet the needs of local communities and the world. Our 1.35 million members - who perform community service in 209 countries and geographic areas - are different in many ways, but share a core belief: community is what we make it." Here at Brush Country CASA we are so thankful for the Lions. They are a wonderful asset to the community. Thank you so very much for your continued support.

Kleberg County District Attorney Donates to CASA

On December 2, 2014 the District Attorney presented Brush Country CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) with a $5,000 check from the District Attorney's Asset Forfeiture fund to provide services for child victims of abuse. Brush County CASA provides trained and qualified community volunteers who advocate for the best interest of children who are before the Court as a result of abuse or neglect, as defined by the state Child Welfare Laws. Brush County CASA's goal is to place these children in safe, nurturing environments as quickly as possible. "Many of the child abuse situations are closely tied to drug or alcohol abuse. The use of funds, forfeited from illegal drugs sales, helps society to help these children, stretching every dollar for CASA that much further," stated District Attorney John Hubert. "However," Hubert continued, "without the dedication and plain hard work of the CASA volunteers, it would be meaningless. Their volunteer work is what makes the difference." The change in the asset forfeiture law in 2013 allowed the District Attorney's Office to use these funds to support CASA. The Kleberg County Judge and Commissioner's Court authorized the expenditure. Picture - L to R - CASA representative receiving the $5,000 check from John T. Hubert, District Attorney, made possible by the agreement of the Kleberg County Commissioner's Court and law enforcement drug and laundered currency interdiction specialists.

CASA Welcomes New Volunteers to Jim Wells County

Brush Country CASA is excited to announce that two new volunteers were sworn in on December 11th by Richard C. Terrell (center). (left to right) Molly Bickham and Mary Saenz are excited to be the newest addition to CASA’s team of wonderful volunteers who will advocate for Jim Wells County's most vulnerable citizens -- children that have been abused and neglected. Molly and Mary have made the commitment to stand up and speak up on behalf of these children. There are many more children desperately waiting in Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, and Kleberg counties for someone like Molly and Mary. Will you be their CASA? For more information on how YOU can become a CASA volunteer please contact Nicole Johnson at 361-595-7233 or by email at casarecruiter.7233@sbcglobal.net. Training classes begin in January.

The Oil Field Militia Hosts a Toy Drive for CASA

The Oil Field Militia (OFM) is an organization made up of oilfield workers who go above and beyond to give back to the communities in which they reside. This year the OFM took an interest in helping CASA. CASA is a non-profit organization who recruits, trains and supports community volunteers who then help guide children through the foster care system. The OFM held a successful toy drive this past weekend in an effort to provide toys for the children in Kleberg County who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. We are truly grateful to the OFM for supporting Brush Country CASA and the children they serve. A special thank you goes out to Joe Lozano and Alfred Garcia for hosting the toy drive. If you would like more information about donating to CASA please contact Nicole Johnson at 361-595-7233.

Chamber Ambassadors provide Thanksgiving Dinner for a CASA Family in need

Brush Country CASA would like to thank the Kingsville Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors for providing a complete turkey dinner for a CASA family in need. The dinner included a turkey, several sides, rolls, drinks, and last but certainly not least dessert. All in all the meal was able to feed up to nine individuals. During this holiday season we want to let the ambassadors know that we are thankful for you!!