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Holiday 2013

The mission of CASA of Denton County, Inc. is to provide trained community volunteers, to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children, and to promote community awareness about child abuse issues.

EXECUTIVE

CASA

MAKES

DIRECTOR’S

DIFFERENCE

MESSAGE

for Children

“‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there.” This popular Christmas story brings to mind traditions and pleasantries I enjoyed as a child during the annual holiday season. What a blessing to grow up in a nurturing household full of love, opportunities and yes, fun! We often find with the children we serve through CASA that those basic needs, much less those extended holiday needs, are simply not normal for these children. Many of them have not lived in a nurturing environment where everyday life is safe and loving. They are not familiar with the popular holiday traditions and excitement that mainstream society enjoys although they often long for it just the same. This time of year is especially meaningful for our CASA staff and advocates as we work to bring this excitement to these very special children. While we work all year long to ensure their basic needs are being met while in the foster care system, this is a special time where we strive to do the “extras” that help these children feel normal and even a little special. We are thankful for those of you in the community that help us to do just that – making handmade stockings CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Cheryl is an advocate for Hannah, a beautiful and smart seventeen-year-old currently placed in a residential treatment center (RTC). Like most children in the foster care system, Hannah has experienced several placement changes. Several years ago, Hannah and her younger sibling were adopted. Although this arrangement proved to be successful for her younger sister, Hannah struggled with a slew of behavioral problems and acted out regularly. Her adoptive parents exhausted every resource available in order to treat and manage Hannah’s behavior. Sadly, they ultimately decided that Hannah was a risk to the entire family. They contacted CPS, and Hannah was removed from their home and placed in a RTC, although they do maintain joint conservatorship of Hannah. Hannah had difficulty adjusting to life in the RTC. She cut herself and got into fights with other children in the facility. A rookie CASA volunteer, Cheryl, was assigned to Hannah’s case. From the beginning, Cheryl worked hard to establish a relationship with Hannah, understanding that she would need to earn Hannah’s trust. Cheryl and Hannah contacted each other by phone and this past summer Cheryl made a four-hour trip to visit Hannah at the RTC. The visit was successful in showing Hannah that someone was on her side and willing to listen. Hannah is comfortable expressing herself with Cheryl and often writes Cheryl letters, telling her CASA about her treatment and behavioral setbacks and how much she loves and appreciates her. From the beginning of Hannah’s case, Cheryl has served as the primary facilitator between CPS, the RTC, and Hannah’s parents. Cheryl intervened after learning that an expected change in Hannah’s treatment level, which would have allowed Hannah more freedom and privileges at the facility, was not to happen. Although Hannah was expecting this change, the facility did not inform her of the reversal of their decision out of concern that Hannah might be reactive and have set backs in her treatment. When this came to Cheryl’s attention, she advocated for the facility to be open and honest with Hannah in a manner that was appropriate and to support Hannah regardless of how she reacted to the decision about her treatment level. Recently, Hannah began to act out again and was moved to a different RTC. Deeply concerned for Hannah and frustrated by the change, Cheryl immediately made plans to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


BOARD OF DIRECTORS • Dixie Berry • Jean Campbell, Emeritus • Debby Grigsby • Dana Haynie, Treasurer • Shelly Krueger, Secretary • Steve Kuzmich • Jeffery Lawrence • Bob Mancino, President • Brandon Martino • Janie McLeod • Michael Moran • Denise Roberts • Kay Schroeder, Vice President • Carrell Ann Simmons • Brenda Sweeten • Paula Wagner

Welcome Graduates of Fall Flex Training Academy

CASA had a wonderful class of new advocates who graduated in December. Pictured with The Honorable Judge Margaret Barnes, (L-R): Lydia Boomer, Korey Dillard, Melinda Vail-Goodnight, Judy Agee, Lindsey Roennau, Alice Holloway, Misty Wood, Judge Barnes.

ADVISORY COUNCIL • Ray Croff • Judy Grimes • Russell Kerbow • Brenda Latham • Greg Studer CASA STAFF • Victoria Calvin, Training Coordinator/ Casework Supervisor • Mary Cartright, Casework Supervisor • Cheri Fry, Casework Supervisor • Sherri Gideon, Executive Director • Pattie Huestis, Casework Supervisor • Debbie Jensen, Casework Supervisor • Debbie Martin, Office Manager • Betty Moran, Casework Supervisor • Sandi Moresco, Casework Supervisor • Lori Powell, Program Director • Theresa White, Casework Supervisor • Lara Willner, Development Associate

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE:

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and quilts to give to CASA kids, “adopting” children for the holiday season to provide gifts and much needed items under the tree, taking part in toy drives or gift card drives to help us fill wish/needs lists, spending time wrapping and delivering gifts. Without your help, this holiday would be just another let down for our CASA kids. Thank you for making this instead a time of magic and excitement. Your support is felt by CASA all year long – your support this holiday season is especially meaningful.

Welcome Graduates of Fall Advocacy Academy

CASA had a terrific class of new advocates who graduated in November. Pictured with The Honorable Judge Margaret Barnes, (L-R): Ali Odom, Cindy Carmack, Sarah Alyea, Carol Langford, Kay Miller, Nita Rathbun, Judge Margaret Barnes, Rena Sutphin, Yvette Noel, Nancy Acee. Not pictured: Debra Koontz.

Sherri Gideon CASA

MAKES

A

DIFFERENCE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

visit Hannah in her new placement, and contacted Hannah’s new service providers to make sure Hannah’s treatment plan would meet her needs. Cheryl facilitated an open line of communication between all professionals involved in Hannah’s case when communication between the parties began to break down. Although Hannah faces many challenges, Cheryl will continue her diligent work to insure that Hannah’s best interests are represented at each stage of her case. CASA volunteer child advocates do make a difference for children, children at any age, any stage in life, with any type of need.


Inaugural Denton County Adoption Festival On a Saturday in November, children from Denton County and other parts of the North Texas Region, were treated to a fall festival, courtesy of the Denton Rotary Club. This was no ordinary festival however, this was an adoption festival where children in the child welfare system who are “waiting for an adoptive family” have an opportunity to meet with adoptive parents who have already been screened and approved by the State of Texas to adopt a child. Sponsored by the Denton Rotary Club and supported by CASA of Denton County and Child Protective Services (CPS), this unique event came to Denton County for the first time and was a big hit! Members of Rotary and volunteers from CASA and CPS provided activities for the children to participate in while they visited with potential adoptive parents. The Denton Rotary Club was awarded a matching grant to pay for the event which included craft booths, activity booths, tours of fire trucks and police cars, and backpacks filled with treats and surprises for each child. The Wal-Mart Distribution Center provided door prizes of Nintendo DS systems, IPods and Itunes Gift Cards and popular DVD’s for the winners! All in all, the event was fun filled and hopefully will be a day to remember as children and potential adoptive families are united for a lifetime of love.

DENTON ROTARY CLUB The Denton Rotary Club is one of over 34,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary is an international service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace locally and in the world. Members, also known as Rotarians, live by the motto of “service above self” and the Denton Rotary Club is a perfect, living example of this motto. Through their sponsorship of the Denton County Adoption Festival, they definitely meet this goal. The club also supports many other worthwhile projects in the Denton community through both volunteerism and financial support. Rotarians can be CASA volunteers and CASA volunteers can be Rotarians! We invite you to be a part of one or both of these excellent organizations to help children and the community at large.


GIFTS FROM THE HEART: Heartfelt thanks to donors who made contributions to CASA between September 1 and November 30, 2013. MAJOR FUNDING SOURCES • City of Carrollton • City of Denton • City of Highland Village • City of Lewisville • Cloud 9 Charities • Denton Benefit League • Denton County Commissioner’s Court • Frisco Rough Riders Foundation • Gaston Episcopal Hospital Foundation • Johnson Family Foundation • Kiwanis Club of Southern Denton County • Marquette Financial Companies • Meridian Bank Texas • Office of the Attorney General • The Rayzor Company • Texas CASA, Inc. • Town of Flower Mound • United Way of Denton County, Inc. • United Way of Metropolitan Dallas • Victim of Crime Act CASA IS PLEASED TO HAVE RECEIVED GIFTS IN HONOR OF… • Eric Fry From Brent Hill • Steve Hanson From Members of The North Texas Corvette Club • Lord Krishna From an anonymous donor • “My Mom” From an anonymous donor • Lynn Schwirtz From Francis and JonAnna Reidinger CASA IS PLEASED TO HAVE RECEIVED A GIFT IN MEMORY OF… • Deanna Daniel From Vicki Foster

k n a h T You

DONATIONS TO HELP MEET CASA’S GREATEST NEEDS (Monetary, In-Kind & through Workplace Campaigns) CASA strives to remember all of those who have blessed us. Please notify us and forgive us if we failed to list your name and know that your generosity is deeply appreciated and truly helps us make a difference for children. • A Style Limousine Service • Amanda Addington • Judy Agee • America’s Charities • AT&T United Way/Employee Giving Campaign • Bank of America United Way Campaign • Claralynn Barnes • Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World • Ben E. Keith Beers – Budweiser • Mike and Dixie Berry • Scott Berry • Deborah Boone • Chrysandra Bowen • Roy and Annell Bradford • Charla Bradshaw • Joe Bridges • Andrea Calloway • Chuck and Lori Christensen • Daily Good • Clarice Darnell • Ray and Sheryl David • Colson Dean • Elizabeth Dean • Denton Regional Medical Center • Kaye Dotson • Eagleton Photography • Lauri Etheridge • Richard and Mary Kay Fisher • Kathi Flahaven • Eric and Cheri Fry • Joe Gagen • Geoffrey and Patricia Gamble • Greg and Sharon Garrett • GE United Way Campaign • Sherri Gideon • Mark and Laura Goodson • Brian Green • Debby Grigsby • Grotto Restaurant • Kathey Hannah • Passion Hayes • Pattie Huestis • Roy Jenkins • Jewelry Limited • C. Smith Jones • Kimberly Clark Foundation • Shelly Krueger

• Matt Kurtz • Ricky and Melissa Kyle • Grace Lamb • Joy Lasley • Jeffery Lawrence • Lewisville Senior Center Needlework Group • Jon and Rhonda Madsen • Bob and Debbie Mancino • Jerry and Debbie Martin • Brandon Martino • Rachel Mays • Connie McAnally • Thomas and Shari McCoy • Janie McLeod • Metzler’s Food & Beverage • Tom and Vicki Mielke • Betty Moran • Sandi Moresco • Senator Jane Nelson • Toye Oleson • Denise Philpot • Richard Podgorski • Pohlad Family Foundation • Lori Powell • Deborah Prock • Joyce Rademacher • Geoffrey and Michelle Rainey • Nita Rathbun • Chuck and Renae Redfearn • Tracee Robertson • Doug and Bonnie Robison • Robson Ranch Material Girls • Gordon and Patsy Roe • St. Andrew Presbyterian Church • Debbie Sardone • Rob and Kimberly Seay • Sharp Family Services • Carrell Ann Simmons • Don W. Smith • Etta Smith • Vicki Spriggs • Brenda Sweeten • Weston and Kimberly Thaggard • Will Travis • United Way of Greater Cincinnati • United Way of Tarrant County • Lynda Uphouse • Mark and Paula Wagner • Wal-Mart Distribution Center #6068 • Chris Washam • Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign • Theresa White • Barbara Willcox • Lara Willner


Cloud 9 Charities Fashion Show

8th Annual Kinship Fair The 8th Annual Kinship Fair held Saturday, October 19, was a tremendous success! Special thanks to event organizers, the Greater Denton County Young Lawyer’s Association, Child Protective Services and students from Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas for helping to support, honor and recognize relatives and close family friends who welcome abused and neglected children into their homes. These special “foster” parents provide a safe, loving home for these children with little support from the child welfare system to help them with the challenges and burdens they face in providing for these children. The Fair is an opportunity for the community to help these families with special and everyday needs by providing food, coats, clothing, school supplies, toys and other special needs items while at the same time, providing a “festival” type atmosphere for the children to enjoy.

6th National Adoption Day Sails into the Port of Denton County Hosted by the Denton County Bar Association in partnership with CASA and Child Protective Services, the 6th Annual Adoption Day event took place in Denton County on Friday, November 1. This life changing event provides children and their adoptive families with a celebratory atmosphere to mark this most important milestone in their lives. This year’s Adoption Day festivities included games, refreshments, and an opportunity for families to take their first family portrait together. Local businesses made in-kind contributions and gave their time to help the 6th Annual Denton County Adoption Day go off without a hitch. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a day to remember for some very special children and their new families.

Presented by Cloud 9 Charities, this exciting event benefited four local charities including CASA, the Children’s Advocacy Center, Rachel’s Challenge and the Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E. Local volunteers and some celebrity models rocked the show stage with styles from local boutiques, attendees bid on an array of exciting auction items to benefit the charities, and night owls in the crowd partied into the wee hours at the Casino After-Party. It was truly a fun and energetic event! Event organizers touted the fashion show as a huge success once again. Special thanks to Kim Cloud, Paula Wagner, Mark Wagner, Cornerstone Staffing and all who made this event and support a reality for CASA and the special children we serve!


JACKIE DAVIS

A Celebration to Remember! What a beautiful night! The 15th Annual Evening of Elegance was one to remember! Our guests looked amazing as they walked the red carpet and posed for a photo by master photographer Walter Eagleton! Chef Morris Salerno of The Grotto outdid himself again by providing an amazing meal and our wonderful Celebrity Waiters provided warm, friendly and professional service to each and every guest! The event was marked by so many wonderful moments. We were pleased to help Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs honor Senator Jane Nelson as one of Texas CASA’s 13 Powerful Voices in 2013 for all of Senator Nelson’s legislative work on behalf of CASA kids! The highlight of the evening was provided by Mr. Jackie Davis, a foster care alumnus and current student at The University of North Texas. Jackie shared his experiences in the foster care system and also spoke about the difference his CASA volunteer made in his life. Jackie’s story was truly inspirational and reminded us all of the impact that a CASA volunteer can make in the life of a child. Thanks to the support from our sponsors and guests, we are pleased to report that the Evening of Elegance raised a record $62,000 to help to provide a CASA for every child who needs one!

Thanks to Sponsors: ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SPONSOR • DATCU Credit Union • Denton Regional Medical Center • Senator Jane Nelson • TXU Energy • Wood, Thacker & Weatherly, P.C. JUSTICE OF THE PEACE SPONSOR • First State Bank • Goodson Engineering • KHA Accountants & Advisors, P.C. • Medical Center of Lewisville • Miller of Denton • Northstar Bnak of Texas • University of North Texas IN-KIND SPONSORS • Denton Record Chronicle • Hannah’s/Eagle & Wheeler • Star Local Media RAFFLE SPONSOR • Meridian Bank Texas WINE SPONSORS • Freixenet USA • Hannah’s

Thanks to all of you!


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Special thanks are extended to Elizabeth and Colson Dean and their family members! For Colson’s 1st birthday this year, he collected stuffed animals and cash and gift cards to assist our CASA kids instead of adding to his own personal stash! What an awesome way for the family to honor Colson – by helping less fortunate children in need. On behalf of the children who will benefit from your generosity, thanks are extended to you, Elizabeth, Colson and other family members, for honoring us with your donations!

A bouquet of thanks to the Lewisville Senior Center Needlework Group who worked this fall to provide 32 handmade quilts for CASA kids and families at the annual Kinship Fair event in October! These ladies have been a blessing to our CASA family since 2007, providing more than 470 quilts over the years and they continue to be such a special part of our mission to help children. Thank you! Many thanks are extended to the Robson Ranch Material Girls who worked again this year to provide 70 handmade Christmas Stockings for CASA kids this holiday season! These women have been providing handmade pillow cases and holiday stockings for our kids since 2011, sewing up love in the form of 366 pillowcases and 140 holiday stockings over past few years. Thank you for your support of our CASA kids and families!

CASA extends heartfelt thanks this year to Denton Regional Medical Center for providing meals for CASA’s four training classes of new volunteer child advocates. Your support helps us save dollars on overhead that can be used to directly benefit children in need! CASA is fortunate to have the support of businesses, churches and special campaigns. We have participated in booths, special presentations, and other opportunities to help us raise awareness of our mission and seek support and volunteers to assist in our endeavors. This year CASA has shared our mission with the Denton Hi Noon Lions Club, St. Philip’s Women’s Club, Denton Rotary Club, Horizon Universalist Unitarian Church, Denton Lions Club, Bridgemoor Senior Living Crafts Club, Lantana Ladies League, SB Richards Company, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Student Association of Social Workers, UNT Child Welfare Class, UNT Leaders in Family Education, Krum Lions Club, United Way of Denton County Allocation Volunteers, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Allocation Volunteers, the City of Denton Human Services Committee, UNT Criminal Justice students, Denton County Commissioner’s Court, City of Lewisville CDBG Funding Committee, City of Frisco Human Services Advisory Committee, Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Kiwanis Club of Southern Denton County, attendees at booths for Juneteenth, Unity in Community, UNT SECC Fair, TWU Volunteer Fair, and at a FEMA Fair. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your events. We are honored on a regular basis to have many CASA friends who support the agency with in-kind donations. We hope you will share your business with those who do business for CASA – Hannah’s/Eagle & Wheeler, Eagleton Photography, Discount Trophies, and TRT Communications. These folks save CASA a tremendous amount of operating funds each year so that more money can be utilized for direct services to children! CASA is grateful for the many donations we receive indirectly through Denton County jurors, through United Way, state, federal and other employee workplace campaigns, and through matching gift funds through individual employers. Your designated gifts to CASA are truly a blessing to the children and families we serve and we thank you for keeping the needs of these children in your hearts.

CASA is pleased this year to have benefited from the generosity of the Gaston Episcopal Hospital Foundation. In September, the Foundation awarded CASA a $2,000 grant to help defray the cost of serving special needs children. Founded in 1982, the foundation awards grants primarily for medical and humanitarian needs in the Dallas area and surrounding communities. CASA is honored to partner with Gaston Episcopal Hospital Foundation to serve some of our most vulnerable children. CASA extends heartfelt thanks to The J. Newton Rayzor Foundation for a generous grant award of $5,000 in October to help defray the costs of CASA’s Administration Office Remodel Project this year. CASA is pleased to have support from the Rayzor Company, Foundation and Family over the past several years for a few specific projects as well as for general operating support and we are pleased to partner with them again for this endeavor. The generosity of the Foundation extends far into the Denton community – we are grateful to be among those who benefit.

CASA was blessed in November to receive a $10,000 donation from the Denton County District Attorney’s (DA) Office Chapter 59 funds. These funds are excess funds from the DA’s office from forfeitures and seizures that can be distributed in a variety of ways to benefit the local community. Paul Johnson, Denton County District Attorney, chose to make donations to CASA, the Children’s Advocacy Center and Friends of the Family. The funds received by CASA will be used to upgrade and expand technology including a new laptop computer, a new desktop computer, and upgrades and additional licenses for the agency’s client database. Special thanks to Mr. Johnson for helping CASA stay efficient in this fast changing technological climate.


CASA of Denton County, Inc. Phone: 940.243.2272 Fax: 940.243.1605 Website: www.casadenton.org Email: info@casadenton.org

www.facebook.com/casadenton.org CASA of Denton County is a member agency of Texas CASA, Inc., the National CASA Association, and the United Ways of Denton County and Metropolitan Dallas.

614 North Bell Avenue Denton, Texas 76209 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED

If you receive two CASA newsletters, please give one to a friend and notify CASA at 940.243.2272 or info@casadenton.org. Thanks!

tmas s i r h C Merry and ear! Y w e N Happy

Wishful Thinking You can help us meet needs that are not included in the agency’s budget. As a small nonprofit agency, with limited resources, we depend on the generosity of our friends to help meet needs and cash donations are not the only way to become a CASA benefactor. The less funding CASA spends on operating costs, the more the children benefit. To donate, call 940.243.2272. NEEDS FOR THE OFFICE • 20 lb. White Copy Paper • Gift Cards to Office Depot, Office Max, Sam’s Club • Speaking Opportunities NEEDS FOR THE CHILDREN • Hugs! • Books for teens • Journals • Gift Cards to Wal-Mart and Target • Gift Cards to Clothing Stores


CASA of Denton County Holiday 2013 Newsletter