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Brush Country CASA calls for community volunteers, announces training dates

KINGSVILLE – Looking to strengthen its corps of volunteers, Brush Country CASA is calling on local communities to lend their time and efforts as they have announced new volunteer training dates for late July and early August.

CASA – which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates – is looking to bolster its volunteer corps as it has spread itself thin keeping up with child welfare cases in Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy and Kleberg Counties.

Brush Country CASA Executive Director Jennifer Rodriguez said volunteers are vital to the non-profit organization’s mission and have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of children involved in each case.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout because we are in real need of CASA volunteers as the number of children in need continues to grow,’ she said. “CASA Volunteers are the heart of our organization and are extremely valuable to the children. They build a bond that allows the children to feel like they have someone by their side while they journey through the foster care system.”

New training dates are scheduled for July 20, 25, 27 and Aug. 1, with the locations and times to be determined based on volunteer sign ups.

CASA volunteer training delves into topics covering the dynamics of child abuse and neglect, advocate responsibilities, family violence, cultural competence, permanency planning, accessing services and court proceedings.

“Our goal with training is to give our qualified community volunteers all the support and knowledge they need to be able to advocate for the best interests of children involved in the child welfare system,” said Brush Country CASA Outreach Director Nicole Ortegon, “When volunteers complete training, we want them to feel prepared but also know that they are not alone and we at CASA will be there by their side to help every step of the way.”

Training sessions are also conducted with volunteer convenience in mind, with the blended curriculum divided into eight online and in-person sessions.

In addition to classes, the CASA staff aims to spread awareness of their mission throughout the communities in their respective counties by staying visible and in touch with the people in their communities.

“We are continuing to participate in community events and provide presentations to local businesses and organizations to get the message out,’ Ortegon said. “It is also a great way to meet people who could potentially join our amazing group of volunteers.”

CASA also hosts events with organizations within their communities.

Next up for CASA will be their annual Color The Way for CASA 5K run on Aug. 12 at Texas A&M University – Kingsville.