The Advocate Advisor
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
 
July/August 2017
 
 

 
Program Notes
By Pat Creighton 
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As we head into summer and the last 2 months of our year, we have already served 604 children…a 7% increase over the total number of children we served last year and a 16% increase year-to-date.
 
While Conroe has been recognized as the fastest growing city in the U.S. according to the latest Census Bureau survey, a similar rise in child abuse and neglect is also a heartbreaking reality. 
 
For us, this means an increasing need for volunteers who are willing to stand up and speak out for every Montgomery County child in the custody of the State. We cannot do this without you! Your continued support to recruit and advocate has enabled us to serve 100% of our children, and I believe this same support will sustain us through this difficult period.
 
Word of mouth is a powerful tool, so please spread the word!  There is a child waiting.
 
Sincerely,
 
Program Director
 
P.S.  Our court room is a real “cool” place to be this summer!

 
By Kim Ayres
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
 
Q: It’s summer. What can I do during this time to support my CASA child’s education?
 
A: Lots!
  1. If you have a copy of the student’s STARR test and they did not pass or their score was weak, encourage their caretakers to go online at http://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/staar/. This site contains resources and released tests (with answer keys). Summer practice on the skills that need building will help the child gain confidence for next year’s testing. For any age child who struggles in school, consider unique ways of tutoring if money is an issue.
    • peer tutoring from an older or stronger student in the neighborhood
    • fun, experiential academic activities with the family or summer babysitter
    • connect with the local high schools, junior colleges and colleges to see if there are any students needing volunteer hours for service clubs or teaching practicum hours
    • connect with the local library for reading programs
    • online curriculum that is fun and educational
  1. In most high schools, at least one counselor remains on staff throughout the summer. They are definitely available by the last week of July.  Ask to see/review the student’s transcript and course schedule for the following school term. In high school, the transcript is everything, and the counselor uses it for every decision as they help students graduate on time. A dedicated look at the transcript as it equates to credits and coursework prior to each semester is so important. If you have a transcript and you would like for the education committee to review and advise next or future steps, please let us know
  2. If your CASA child is attending mandatory summer school due to failed classes…how is it going? Only two missed days or misbehavior in summer school could cause forfeiture of the course and/or the credit. Is the information going to be presented at a placement committee meeting prior to the beginning of the school year? If yes, ask to be included. While you’re there, brainstorm focused solutions so that the student can be set up for academic success. Proactive planning may eliminate the need for mandatory summer school next summer.
  3. Relax and play. Breathe and believe.

 
Monthly Education Committee Meetings:
Monthly education committee meetings are held the 4th Wednesday of each month from 2-4 pm at the CASA office. Advocates are encouraged to contact your supervisor and/or Kim Ayres with immediate needs. 
 
Please consider utilizing this resource of veteran educators if you have questions or concerns about your CASA child’s education. No question is too big or too small. We are here for you!
 
HELPFUL LINKS:
 

 
CASA Case Supervisor Receives TBRI® Practitioner Certification
By Alli Stephens
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County is pleased to congratulate Case Supervisor, Marilyn McQueeney on her recent certification as a TBRI® Practitioner by the Karen Purvis Institute of Childhood Development. Marilyn completed five units of online coursework followed by five days of on-site, intensive training that focuses on application and implementation of TBRI® to receive this prestigious certification.
 
Trust-Based Relational intervention (TBRI®) is an attachment-based, evidence-based, and trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm “fear-based behaviors” in children.
 
The TBRI® Practitioner training is intended for practitioners who want to learn about TBRI® and use it within their professional capacity (e.g., therapists, caseworkers, foster and adoption care specialists, occupational therapists, medical professionals, counselors, CASA representatives, early childhood & development specialists). This core training experience is designed to prepare practitioners for working with children from hard places and their families. 
 
“For children who have experienced trauma, their brains have become wired differently,” Marilyn explains, “They lack the instinct to trust and naturally resort to fear, flight, or fight when stressed or upset.” Marilyn continues, “With the right interactions and situations where trust is built, there is renewed hope to heal these children and give them brighter futures.”
 
As a TBRI® Practitioner, Marilyn will be able to apply TBRI® principles and strategies within CASA to train Advocates. The first TBRI® Training for Advocates is scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2017 (location and hours TBD). For more information about TBRI® or the upcoming training, please contact Marilyn McQueeney at Marilyn@CASASpeaks4Kids.com or (936) 441-5437, ext. 204.

 
Development in Action: Consider CASA
By Shannon Wilson
 

 
Planned giving, what’s that? Have you ever thought about making a donation to CASA but did not feel that you had funds to spare from your current income or available cash? Have you considered including CASA Child Advocates in your Estate Plans? It’s actually quite simple, and could be a great way to contribute to CASA and build your legacy for generations to come. Plus when you tell us about it, we would love to recognize you NOW for your generosity.
 
Planned giving comes in many shapes and sizes. You can name CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County in your will, even as a partial beneficiary. You will fill out a brief form, have it notarized, and then file with your will. You can also include CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County as a beneficiary of a retirement plan, brokerage account, life insurance policy, annuity, or any other investment you may own. The questions you can ask yourself are these – Will my heirs miss a small percentage of my estate?  How proud will my family be when they learn that I’ve decided to donate a portion of my estate to help change the future for children who need it most? What satisfaction will I feel knowing that my estate will be helping the abused and neglected children of Montgomery County well beyond my life?
 
For more information or to talk about other methods of charitable giving, please contact me at shannon@casaspeaks4kids.com or 281-770-5199.
 
With gratitude,
Development Director
(281) 770-5199
 

 
Don't Forget...the CASA Toyroom and Bookshelves are Resources for You! 
By Vicki Bradley
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Toy Room
Check the Toy Room map (on the shelf as you enter the Toy Room) to find toys suitable for your CASA kid(s). For the teens, a group donated 39 handmade drawstring backpacks in May. For infants, the white stuffed bears in the clear bags are sanitized.
 
Summer Reading
Remember to visit the bookshelves in CASA’s front office to pick up some books for your kids! When it is too hot outside or the kids are bored, reading can be a great adventure! Some special categories on the bookshelves include: Nature, Star Wars, Humor,  and Dinosaurs. Books for teens include Literary Classics, Romance, and Action/Adventure. FYI: “chapter books” refers to books for young readers with larger print and more pictures than books for older readers. Reading picture books to preschoolers can be fun and there are plenty of books from which to choose!
 
Summer Learning/Tutoring or Back-to-School Supplies
There are watercolor paints and brushes in the Art and School Supply area of the Toy Room. You can pick up a few learning supplies in the CASA Toy Room: pencils, pens, notebooks, glue, crayons, and construction paper.
 
 

 
Celebrating Advocate Anniversaries
By Pat Creighton
 
AUGUST
 
5 Years
Heather Cabanas
Christine Tang
Sandra Westcott
 
4 Years
Lisa Chilaga
Sharon Howerton
Paul McKelvey
Sharilyn Wood
 
3 Years
Karen Holstein
Schelley Tucker
James Harville
Stephanie Goncalves
Cristina Flight
 
2 Years
Deborah Gavin
Debra Kirzner
JoAnn Rother
Christina Tatavak
Brittney Briscoe
Vicki Cullinan
James Degnan
Roland Gutierrez
Nancy McCulloch
David McKinney
Milton Stewart
 
1 Year
Debra Cooper
Grace Fernandez
Marti Hernandez
Sandra Lopez
Margaret Martin
Whitney Montgomery
Lamar Odom
 
Upcoming Events
 
JULY 2017
12  Fostering Futures Campus Tour: Stephen F. Austin University
12  Conversations with CASA (evening event): The Refuge Bar & Bistro from 5:00-7:00 pm
14  Fostering Futures Campus Tour: Lone Star College – Kingwood
15  New Advocate Training Class Begins (Saturday and Weeknights)
18  Annual Ladies’ Night Out: Rodgers Stein Chiropractic Center (3303 West Davis Street; Conroe, TX 77304) from 5:00-7:00 pm
19  Fostering Futures Campus Tour: Sam Houston State University
19  Conversations with CASA (morning event): La Madeleine Country French Café from 9:00-11:00 am
21  Fostering Futures Advocate Training: CASA Office from 9:00 am-3:00 pm
24  New Advocate Swearing In: 9:00 am
 
AUGUST 2017
1  Fostering Futures Advocate Training: CASA Office from 9:00 am-3:00 pm
8  New Advocate Training Class Begins (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
9  Conversations with CASA (evening event): The Refuge Bar & Bistro from 5:00-7030 pm
16  Fostering Futures Advocate Training: CASA Office from 9:00 am-3:00 pm
16  Conversations with CASA (morning event): La Madeleine Country French Café from 9:00-11:00 am
18  TBRI Advocate Training: Location & Hours TBD
26  Final Day! Early Registration Pricing Discount for the 2017 CASA Superhero Run 
28  Sponsor/Underwriter Final Commitment Deadline: 2017 CASA Superhero Run
 
SEPTEMBER 2017
13  Conversations with CASA (evening event): The Refuge Bar & Bistro from 5:00-7:00 pm
20  Conversations with CASA (morning event): La Madeleine Country French Café from 9:00-11:00 am
 
OCTOBER 2017
7  New Advocate Training Class Begins (Nights and Weekends)
11  Conversations with CASA (evening event): The Refuge Bar & Bistro from 5:00-7:00 pm
16  New Advocate Swearing In & Celebration: 9:00 am
18  Conversations with CASA (morning event): La Madeleine Country French Café from 9:00-11:00 am
19-21  Texas CASA Conference: Galveston Island Convention Center
26 & 27  2017 CASA Superhero Run Packet Pick-up: Location & Hours TBD
28  8th Annual CASA Superhero Run:  Start/Finish at The Woodlands Christian Academy with race courses through W.G. Jones State Forest.  Race Day Registration opens at 7:00 am; Races begin at 8:00 am.
 
NOVEMBER 2017
8  Conversations with CASA (evening event): The Refuge Bar & Bistro from 5:00-7:00 pm
15  Conversations with CASA (morning event): La Madeleine Country French Café from 9:00-11:00 am
 
DECEMBER 2017
4  New Advocate Training Class Begins (Monday - Thursday)
11  New Advocate Swearing In & Celebration: 9:00 am
 
JANUARY 2018
10  Conversations with CASA (evening event): The Refuge Bar & Bistro from 5:00-7:00 pm
17  Conversations with CASA (morning event): La Madeleine Country French Café from 9:00-11:00 am
 
FEBRUARY 2018
10  2018 CASA Speaks for Kids Gala – “Enchanted: A Masquerade Ball” at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center from 6:00 pm - Midnight
14  Conversations with CASA (evening event): The Refuge Bar & Bistro from 5:00-7:00 pm
21  Conversations with CASA (morning event): La Madeleine Country French Café from 9:00-11:00 am
 
Meet Laura!
 
Program is pleased to announce that we have a new Case Supervisor. 
 
Laura Rodriguez was born in Valparaiso, Chile. She met her husband, Marco Rodriguez, while he was on vacation from New Jersey and they have been married for 25 years.  They have 4 children:  Katherine, 28, Social Worker; Marco, 23, a Marine; Gabriela, 20, a college student; and Oscar, 10.  Laura and Marco are also the proud grandparents of 3 year old Sofia and a one year old puppy, Luna.
 
Laura graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Social Work from Texas Woman’s University and completed an internship with the Department of Family and Protective Services during her last semester.  She was offered a full time position with DFPS-CPS as a Conservatorship caseworker working TMC, PMC, and Adoption cases.  She completed four years as a caseworker in Dallas before moving to the Woodlands.
 
Laura loves to dance, enjoys classical music, old movies….and yes…chocolate!  She believes all children deserve a happy and protective life and it is our responsibility to advocate for their physical and emotional wellbeing.  
 
Please stop by and welcome Laura to CASA.
The Volunteer Council Corner
By Susan Olver
 
 
We'll have more updates in the next newsletter! Until then...please contact Susan Olver at casasolver@gmail.com with any questions or comments.

 
Your CASA Team!
 
Executive Director
 
Program Director
 
CASE SUPERVISORS:
 
Vicki Bradley Staff Support Specialist 
Nancy Dunworth – Administrative Coordinator
Susan McCormick – Database Administrator
Pat Riley – Special Projects Manager
Wanda Smith – Training Director
Alli Stephens – Marketing and Communications Director
Shannon Wilson – Development Director

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Address postal inquiries to:
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
412 West Phillips Ste. 107
Conroe, TX 77301