The Advocate Advisor
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
 
Sept./Oct. 2016
 

 
A Note from Pat...
By Pat Creighton 
Article Image
 
August 31st signals the end of the CASA program year and, for me, it is a time of review, reflection, and renewal.
 
Through July, you have served 203 new children, 17% more than the previous year and 100% of all the children who have come into care.  You have written 529 reports; you have found permanence for 198 children; and you have attended 898 hearings.  You have logged 151,800 miles.  While I still do not have the final numbers for the year…you have a reason to celebrate!
 
Judi has recruited and Wanda has trained 80 new volunteers. Texas CASA has chosen us to participate in 2 new initiatives….CFE Collective Family Engagement and a PMC “Best Practice” pilot program.  Our “Fostering Futures” Program, designed for teens, has provided campus tours and life skill classes in apartment hunting and cooking.  We have an effective Volunteer Counsel and Educational Committee and we have worked with our community partners to assist teens who are aging out and to celebrate special events including “Back to School”, “Christmas”, and “Always Pursue”.  You have a reason to celebrate!
 
There is and will always be more work to do and we will continue to set high standards and lofty goals.  But…as we look forward…it is important to take some time and celebrate the now.  It is a gift and no one deserves it more than you!  Thank you and God bless.  You have a reason to celebrate!
 
Sincerely,
 
Pat Creighton
Program Director

 
By Kim Ayres
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
Q: Who are the most important persons to contact when working with schools?
A: Best practice might be to begin with an in-person or email an introduction to the child’s principal, assistant principal and counselor. Often the counselor will become your point of contact. The administrators will guide you to additional staff members (i.e. diagnostician, speech pathologist) who are specific to your CASA child’s educational needs. Tips: Carry or send your court ordered appointment documents with you so they can be added to the child’s “permanent” folder which is key to easy access. Stop in and meet the registrar. That staff position is usually the first to know when a student may enroll or withdraw. Getting on their contact list may decrease the surprises of placement changes without notice.
 
Q: How do I gain ongoing access to the teaching staff?
A: When you introduce yourself to the administrative staff, be sure to ask for your CASA child’s teacher names and schedules, the time of their conference periods and the protocol for sending and receiving emails. Tips: While you’re there, find out how to access their grades/conduct through the school’s online “parent” viewing program. Visit the school’s website for additional information such as teacher’s webpages, school calendar and extracurricular opportunities.
 
Q: School is now in session. What should I be doing right now to assist my CASA child?
A: Make contact with the school and shore up strong communication. If the child is in special programs, check to be sure your name is on their “call” list. Build partnership with point persons in such a way that you will be thought of before staffings, conferences and ARD meetings are scheduled rather than afterwards. If your CASA child is transitioning between schools, including moves such as elementary to junior high, go the extra mile to be sure the child is as comfortable as possible entering the new school environment.  Encourage. Encourage. Encourage. Tips: Especially in secondary schools, in the opening days of school, the staff is very busy. Be mindful of busy schedules and still make your way into actions concerning your CASA child. For instance, if a counselor knows that Math is the hardest subject, they may hand schedule that class into a specific time of day or with a particular teacher. If the principals knows specific behavioral triggers, they may work proactively to meet the student and build rapport. It never hurts to ask.
 
We hope you like this forum. If you have a school related FAQ or need assistance with your CASA child’s educational placement and programming, please tell your supervisor. Our goal will always be to get the answers you need and, as appropriate, spread the word so that others may benefit as well.
 
Monthly education committee meetings are held the 4th Wednesday of each month from 2-4 pm at the CASA office. 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:

 
For Your Convenience... Improved Forms Make Reporting Easy!
By Kim Vest
We have improved our Time & Mileage form!  Thanks to some great input from Advocates and Supervisors, we have several new and improved features. 
If you haven’t started using the new form, please give it a try.  The easiest way for your supervisor to process Time & Mileage is to receive this form!
 
A special thanks to all those who submit their Time & Mileage by the 10th of each month (this is the deadline for our VOCA grant report.) THANK YOU!
 
We’ve also improved our standard Court Report.  Gone are the difficult format boxes!  It’s easy to use and we have two versions for you to choose from: a blank form and a guideline form with explanations of each section.
 
If you haven’t tried the new form, we encourage you to start today!  Your supervisor is available to assist you.  
 
You can find the most recent form updates and additional Advocate resources on the CASA website in the Advocate Center.

 
2016 Superhero Run: Complimentary Race Registrations for Youth in Care
By Alli Stephens
Article Image
The 7th Annual CASA Superhero Run is just around the corner! What do you need to know?
 
WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, October 1, 2016 at The Woodlands Christian Academy (5800 Academy Way, The Woodlands 77354) - Race day registration begins at 7:00 am and races begin at 8:00 am.
 
RACES: This year, we are continuing to offer 10K & 5K trail run courses through W.G. Jones State Forest, plus a 1K Fun Run.
 
We offer complimentary 1K Fun Run or 5K trail run registrations to our youth in care. Registration is available online, and they will need to enter the discount code "CASA4KIDS" when prompted. Please make sure to pass along that children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult for the 5K. 
 
You're invited to participate as well! Whether you are a competitive runner, a casual walker, or just love the idea of supporting a wonderful cause, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy at the 2016 CASA Superhero Run. Register online: http://www.active.com/the-woodlands-tx/running/distance-running-races/casa-superhero-run-2016 
 
Looking to volunteer on race day? We have many additional opportunities available to help us out! Email Debbie Conlon at RunVolunteer@CASASpeaks4Kids.com for details.
 
If you have questions or need general information about ANYTHING run-related, contact Alli Stephens directly at Alli@CASASpeaks4Kids.com.
 
Every child needs a hero. Abused children need SUPERHEROES!

 
Join the CASA Volunteer Council!
By Susan Olver
Article Image
Are you aware that CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County has a Volunteer Council? This group supports Advocates and staff by helping with special projects and managing events geared towards the Advocates and our kids in care. We would love to add a few members to this small, but dedicated, group! We typically meet monthly for about an hour and half at the CASA office. Please contact Susan Olver at casasolver@gmail.com if you’d be interested in joining us.
 
Volunteer Council events that are coming up include:
  • Advocate Support Meeting:  These groups are held every other month in an Advocate's home, either during the day or in the evening.  There is time at the start to meet and chat with other advocates, and then a topic is presented for discussion. This is a great way to meet other Advocates in an informal setting and visit with those that are doing the same important work that you do. These meetings also provide 2 hours of the required twelve annual hours of continuing education. 
  • Bike Rodeo:  Watch your email inbox! This will be CASA’s third bike rodeo where our kids can learn about bike safety and possibly take home their very own new bike. It will be held on Saturday, October 15th at Cox Middle School, and is an indoor event.
  • CPS Appreciation Luncheon: The Volunteer Council sets up a themed luncheon each year to show our thanks to our dedicated CPS workers. It’s a big job, and we’d love a few more volunteers to help out.  We set up at the DFPS office the afternoon before the event, have a fantastic fun filled lunch, and clean up. The CPS workers look forward to it each year and so do we! We also provide door prizes, so if you would like to donate something, we’d appreciate it. Small gift cards to local restaurants/Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts, etc. are always a big hit. Please let me know if you’d be interested in helping with this fun afternoon. The date this year is October 6.
Toy Room and Library Offer Opportunities to Choose a Special Gift for a Child
By Kim Vest
Article Image
Thanks to Vicki Bradley who has joined the CASA team as part of the Experience Works program, the CASA Library and Toy room have never been more organized! 
 
The purpose of both is to provide Advocates with easy access to books and toys to serve as ice breakers for first visits and to help commemorate a special event, like a birthday.
 
In the Toy Room, you’ll find a map to assist you with your selections.   
Age appropriate “Bags of Love” stuffed with toiletries, a blanket, toys and games are also available to help ease a child through a placement transition.
 
 
And in the Library, you’ll find a variety of books for children of all ages, including “My CASA and Me” and “It’s Your Journey", books created by CASA’s own Volunteer Council to help Advocates explain their role to children and older youth. You’ll also find small seasonal toys strategically placed so you can grab-and-go!  
 
Stop by and have a look.  We’d love to see you!

 
What a Difference CASA Makes!
2015 Report
 
View full report. (See Page 8) 

 
Celebrating Advocate Anniversaries
By Pat Creighton
Eleven Year Anniversary-Aug,Sep,Oct
Batt, Dorothy 09/01/2004
Ten Year Anniversary - Aug,Sep,Oct
Spahr, Patricia 10/01/2006
Inman, Denise 10/01/2006
Bundscho, Rose Mary 10/01/2006
Krenz, Julie 10/01/2006
Seven Year Anniversary - Aug,Sep,Oct
Watt, Tom 09/24/2009
Six Year Anniversary - Aug,Sep,Oct
Garza, Cynthia 10/04/2010
Five Year Anniversary - Aug,Sep,Oct
Bartlow, Dave 08/22/2011
Reitmeyer, Jennifer 08/22/2011
Killion, Charlene 08/22/2011
Four Year Anniversary - Aug,Sep,Oct
Westcott, Sandra 08/20/2012
Tang, Christine 08/20/2012
Cabanas, Heather 08/20/2012
Musselman, Ashleigh 08/20/2012
Birge, David 10/22/2012
Kaftan, Joanna 10/22/2012
Mandel, Cynthia 10/22/2012
McDonnell, Anna 10/22/2012
Stuard, Debbie 10/22/2012
Three Year Anniversary - Aug,Sep,Oct
Howerton, Sharon 08/19/2013
Wood, Sharilyn 08/19/2013
McKelvey, Paul 08/19/2013
Chagala, Lisa 08/19/2013
Moore, Bonnie 08/19/2013
Stofcheck, Deborah 08/19/2013
Hass, Joseph E. 10/14/2013
Hass, Robyn 10/14/2013
Bond, Kelley A. 10/14/2013
Wilcox, Audrea 10/14/2013
Rush, Ronald 10/14/2013
Fehrle, Ashley 10/14/2013
Sisson, Tammy 10/14/2013
Getty, Brenda 10/14/2013
Stavinoha, Katie 10/28/2013
Seltz, Carol 10/28/2013
Gordon, Karen 10/28/2013
Castro, Arturo 10/28/2013
Two Year Anniversary - Aug,Sep,Oct
Harville Jr., James 08/29/2014
Flight, Cristina 08/29/2014
Woods, Elizabeth 08/29/2014
Goncalves, Stephanie 08/29/2014
Crane, Ernest 08/29/2014
Brunson, Galand 08/29/2014
Kremheller, Sherry 08/29/2014
Tucker, Schelley 08/29/2014
Holstein, Karen 08/29/2014
Givens, LeHenry 10/20/2014
Lehmann, Melinda 10/20/2014
Wallace, Crystal 10/20/2014
Orme, Kerry 10/20/2014
Fairchild, Pamela 10/20/2014
One Year Anniversary - Aug, Sep, Oct
Tatavak, Christina 08/10/2015
Rother, Jo Ann 08/10/2015
Gavin, Deborah 08/10/2015
Cullinan, Vicki 08/10/2015
Briscoe, Brittney 08/10/2015
McCulloch, Nancy 08/10/2015
Gutierrez, Roland 08/10/2015
Stewart, Milton 08/10/2015
Degnan, James 08/10/2015
McKinney, David 08/10/2015
Hodges, Diane 08/10/2015
Kirzner, Debra 08/24/2015
Catino, David 09/28/2015
Catino, Jeanie 09/28/2015
Cruz, Bella 09/28/2015
Gibson, Kenneth 09/28/2015
Marsh, Tammy 09/28/2015
Hewitt, Vicki 09/28/2015
Lawson, Mika 10/19/2015
Grainger, Shawn 10/19/2015
Adams, Taryn 10/19/2015
French, Steve 10/19/2015
Blanco Whitehead, Nina 10/19/2015

Upcoming Events
 
SEPTEMBER 2016
09  Advocate In-Service: Mental Health First Aid for Youth at TETRA Technologies, Inc., 8:00 am-4:00 pm
13  New Advocate Training Class Begins (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
14  Conversations with CASA (evening event) at The Refuge Bar & Bistro, 5:00-7:00 pm
21 Conversations with CASA (morning event) at La Madeleine Country French Café, 9:00-11:00 am
26 New Advocate Swearing In & Celebration, 9:00 am
28 Education Committee Meeting at the CASA office, 2:00-4:00pm
29 Back to School Party for foster kids at Incredible Pizza
29 & 30 2016 CASA Superhero Run Packet Pick-up: Fleet Feet - The Woodlands Hours TBD
 
OCTOBER 2016
01 7th 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.
06 CPS Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the CASA Volunteer Council
12 Conversations with CASA (evening event) at  The Refuge Bar & Bistro, 5:00-7:00 pm
15 3rd Annual CASA Bike Rodeo at Cox Middle School, 9:00 am-12:00 pm
19 Conversations with CASA (morning event) at La Madeleine Country French Café, 9:00-11:00 am
28 Education Committee Meeting at the CASA office, 2:00-4:00pm
 
NOVEMBER 2016
03-05 Texas CASA Conference: Westin Dallas Park Central, Dallas
05 New Advocate Training Class Begins (Nights & Weekends)
09 Conversations with CASA (evening event) at The Refuge Bar & Bistro 5:00-7:00 pm
14 New Advocate Swearing In & Celebration, 9:00 am
16 Conversations with CASA (morning event) at La Madeleine Country French Café, 9:00-11:00 am

JANUARY 2017
21 2017 CASA Speaks for Kids “Evening at the Museum” Gala: The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, 6:00 pm - Midnight
 
3rd Annual CASA Bike Rodeo Gaining Momentum!
By Patti Sexton and Gwen Box
Article Image
We know each of you has been anxiously awaiting for word about the 3rd Annual CASA Bike Rodeo. We have confirmed the date of Saturday, October 15th! Sgt. Wright with Conroe ISD has approved the date for her officers, and this year's event will once again be held at Cox Intermediate School.
 
Our first committee meeting was August 23rd, and we will be working furiously to pull everything together for another successful event.  If you would like to volunteer, either to help us plan the event or to offer hands-on help on race day, please contact Gwen at Gwen@CASASpeaks4Kids.com.

 
An Invitation to the 2016 Texas CASA Conference:
 
Calling all CASA volunteers! 
 
Make your voice heard by spreading the CASA spirit at the 2016 Texas CASA Conference: Amplifying Voices!
 
Through the power of the many voices that make up the CASA community, we can strengthen our network and grow to serve all the children in care – creating a brighter future for Texas children both today and tomorrow.
 
We hope you will join us as we bring together more than 650 members of the CASA network in Dallas from November 3-5 for three days of speakers, workshops and institutes that will help you take your role with CASA to the next level and make waves of change in the lives of the children you serve.
 
For more information, visit the website:
 
If you are interested in attending, please contact your Case Supervisor.
Following Fostering Futures
By Fawn Dennis
Article Image
Fostering Futures had a great summer! With the help of our summer intern, we went on 3 college campus tours, two cooking and nutrition classes, and one mock apartment renting experience.  It was a lot of walking in the intense heat, but it was lots of fun.  I love seeing the look on their faces when they walk into a dorm for the first time or get a chance to eat in the school cafeteria.  They ask a lot of questions and by the end of the day they are already planning how to decorate their dorms and what to major in. 
 
I hope to have the next Fostering Futures training class in October. If you currently advocate for a teen or are thinking of advocating for a teen please take this 6 hours training to get a better understanding of working with this age group.

 
2016 Board of Directors
 
JIM FUNKE
Board Chair; Chair – Executive Committee
JUDY LARSON OLSON
Board Vice Chair; Chair – Governance, Planning & Policy Committee; Development Committee
SCOTT CREASMAN
Treasurer; Finance & Compliance Committee
STEVEN C. EARL
Secretary; Governance, Planning & Policy Committee
BOB EVANS
Finance & Compliance Committee
SHARON GEIB
Finance & Compliance Committee
RICHARD LANE
Development Committee
CLAY MCCOLLOR
Chair – Legislative Committee; Development Committee
JAMES E. PUNG
Development Committee
SABINA  RAHMAN-GARCIA
Development Committee; Governance, Planning & Policy Committee
MONICA  VILS-BRAWNER
Development Committee
ROBYN WEST
Community Youth Outreach Liaison; Governance, Planning & Policy Committee
CASA Child Advocates in the Community
 
Cut-N-Shoot Charities Grant Presentation, May 2016
CASA Annual Advocate Recruitment Campaign Event at Pollotta's Italian Grill, May 2016
2nd Annual Couture for CASA Fundraiser at Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands (presented by XCEL Realty, Avalon Insurance and Nations Lending), March 2016
Crawfish for CASA Fundraiser Check Presentation. The event was held March 19-20, 2016 at Bareback Bar & Icehouse, Sponsored by Spring/Woodlands Foodie Tasting and Deals, For The Love of Food Trucks Festival, Public News Online and featuring the best Cajun crawfish by BeBe’s Crav’n Cajun.
Advocates Share Experiences, Encourage and Recruit New Volunteers
By Judi Foster
Article Image
 
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County offers two informational events each month, specifically designed to give anyone who is considering becoming an Advocate a chance to gain insight into this unique and rewarding role. Hosted by the Advocate Recruitment Committee, guests can sit down, one-on-one, with current CASA volunteers to discuss their questions and concerns, and hear first-hand the difference Advocates make in children’s lives.
 
 
For more information, please contact Judi Foster: Judi@CASASpeaks4Kids.com.
 

 
Sneak Peek: 2017 CASA Speaks for Kids Gala
 
Article ImageYou are invited to be a part of the 2017 CASA Speaks for Kids, “Evening at the Museum” Gala on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. This year’s Gala Committee is in the process of planning a memorable event, and your involvement in this important fundraiser is the key to our success. We’ll bring history to life at our event, where stellar entertainment and exclusive auction items are part of this evening filled with unique experiences!
 
Read full article (See page 11).
 

 

Would you like to forward this email to a friend? Click here.
Remove my name from all future mass email communications:

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