Newspaper Background

The CASA Program of St. Joseph County

The Advocate

Woman and Child Writing on a Paper

1st Quarter 2023

CASA Makes a Difference

CASA Demographics for 2022:

  • Number of Children Served in 2022: 871
  • Number of Children on the Waiting List at the End of the Year: 0
  • Number of CASA Staff Full-Time: 16
  • Number of CASA Staff Part-Time: 3
  • Number of Active Volunteers in 2022: 122
raning gold confetti party background
Congratulations to our FALL CASA Class Graduates
Call to Action Illustration

Come join us this spring! Sign up for Pre-Service Training and learn what it takes to become an advocate for children in the child welfare system. Make a difference in your community and change the lives of children who need a voice.

To fill out a volunteer application visit:

Call To Action Icon Design
Lend your voice Advocate for children
Call To Action Outline Icon
volunteer gradient icon
Abstract Shapes and Metallic Modern Background
Red Welcome Ribbon

Please help us welcome our newest Supervisor of Volunteers, Lindsey!

Lindsey's been a CASA Volunteer for almost 2 years now, and became Supervisor of Volunteers on November 28, 2022.

Lindsey became a CASA Volunteer because she wanted to be where the decisions are made (in court). Now, she can do that every day as a Supervisor of Volunteers while helping more children along the way!

Lindsey had previously been a Family Case Manager in Chicago and a foster parent, so she's seen the system from many viewpoints and really wanted to help advocate for the best interest of the kids in our community. After having all of these experiences, Lindsey felt like becoming a part of the staff would be a wonderful opportunity.

Lindsey is excited to see where her journey takes her, and she's excited that she gets to see the difference the CASA program makes every day!

New Supervisor of Volunteers
Ripped Paper with Grid Pattern
Ripped Paper with Grid Pattern
Abstract shape element
Ripped Paper with Grid Pattern
Ripped Paper with Grid Pattern
Abstract shape element
Abstract Shape Illustration

Staff Spotlight

Tameria M.

How long have you been with the CASA program?: I started with CASA in September 2021.

How did you hear about CASA? Through my many years of working in the child welfare system, and from friends that were CASA volunteers.

What made you want to work at CASA? I had previously been a Family Case Manager and a service provider in the area. I saw a lot of attention being placed on what the parents were and were not doing in their case with DCS, but not enough on what the children were going through. I wanted to help my community and be involved in work focused on doing right by children, and at a level where I felt my advocacy mattered. What better place than in the courtroom with CASA!

Tell me something interesting about yourself. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my five month old granddaughter, reading, being outside and watching Purdue men’s basketball.

What is some advice you would give to someone considering becoming a CASA volunteer? There’s a child that needs you!! Be sure you understand the commitment of a CASA and have the time to fulfill it. If you do, join us in making a difference in a child’s life.

Love Sketch
Abstract Shape Illustration
Ripped Paper with Grid Pattern
Ripped Paper with Grid Pattern
Abstract shape background

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris G.

I joined the CASA program in the fall of 2007, back when the office was upstairs, down in what is now Courtroom 5. A small, but mighty team! And although I have periodically taken time away from the program to focus on big life changes, I always come back because I truly feel that next to raising my own children – it is the absolute best thing I can do with my time. I didn’t even know what a CASA was until one day I was searching for volunteer opportunities that allowed me to work with kids. When I saw the description – it truly was like a lightbulb – it was EXACTLY what I wanted to do. Advocate for kids who don’t necessarily have someone in their lives who can truly focus on their best interest and fight for it.

When asked what the hardest thing about being a CASA is – I think my answer has changed over the years. It used to be working with the biological family. However, although that part still is challenging – I now know that it’s likely they came from the same situation that their children are enduring. And although most people think – well, then do better - unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. There are a lot of advantages and privileges that many of us have that we don’t even realize. So, yes – the bio family can make things harder than we would like – but for me now – the most challenging part is working with overworked FCM’s. It’s hard to see things fall through the cracks and not get focused on. Which is where and why I step in. I do my best to make sure that everything that matters gets addressed, regardless of how busy the team is. I’ve advocated for ages toddlers to teens and so with each new case, I get a different type of personal reward. The little ones are easy to love on and spend time with. Once the case is closed – you hope that it’s the last time that child is ever part of the system. The older kids have experienced more trauma, so not necessarily as easy to get to know. BUT, if you give them a chance and are willing to just meet them where they are (with patience), you can get a real opportunity to connect in a way that maybe they have never experienced.

My best advice to someone considering whether or not they want to be a CASA is to come in with an open mind. Truly, it’s really one of the most important things you will need. Chances are you will work with adults that have all sorts of baggage that you have never experienced. Don’t judge them for that. Just keep your focus on the child and what’s in his or her best interest. Oh, and pack your patience! It’s the most rewarding thing I can do with my personal time, but it has definitely built lots of character, too.

Party Celebration Clipart
Party Celebration Clipart
Watercolor Brush Stroke
Abstract Torn Paper Vector

CASA Kudos

Thank you on a note paper
Heart Sticky Notes Illustration
Paper Ripped Piece with Sticky Tape

Heather C. -- Thank you for working diligently to research and gather facts pertaining to your case!

When testifying in court, you lay out the information so the Magistrate has all the facts. We appreciate that you go the extra mile for the children you serve.

Ripped Paper Piece with Sticky Tape

Denise R., Cindi F., and Mike S. -- Thank you for being super CASA wrappers! Your time spent wrapping gifts for our kiddos in care is greatly appreciated. You made countless Christmases magical!

Paper Ripped Piece with Sticky Tape

Mary G. -- Thank you for being our WSBT volunteer spotlight! We appreciate your generous assistance in our recruiting efforts. You help our community by advocating for children directly as well as advocating for our program's growth! We appreciate all you do!

cute sticky note
merci on a note paper
Watercolor Brush Stroke
Abstract Torn Paper Vector

CASA Kudos

Ripped Paper Piece with Sticky Tape

Preston C. -- Thank you for serving on a number of cases during your time with CASA! As an advocate, you've challenged your kids to do better in school, look to their future and really be a part of the family. Your approach has been instrumental in helping the youth you serve. Thank you, Preston!

Thank you on a note paper
Paper Ripped Piece with Sticky Tape

Jenny C. -- Thank you for tirelessly advocating for your CASA child. You truly have the child's best interest at heart!

merci on a note paper
Heart Sticky Notes Illustration
Frozen red Christmas background
Red Christmas Background
Buildable Christmas Backgrounds Christmas Lights
Holiday Toy Drive
Buildable Christmas Backgrounds Christmas Lights

On December 8, CASA volunteers gathered to wrap gifts at our Holiday Party!

Thanks to everyone who joined us! For those that missed it, we'll see you next year!


at the state house

Tuesday March 7 2023 11 00 am 1 00 pm est

Don't miss this opportunity to rally alongside 88 CASA programs statewide, and thank legislators for their support. You will also meet fellow volunteers and staff from across the state!

We will have the pleasure of hearing from the Judiciary, the CASA State Program Director, Rae Feller, and former foster youth.

There will be more information to follow closer to the date. So check your CASA emails!

Abstract Colorful Shapes Background

Continuing Education Hours

CASA Volunteers and Staff are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education each calendar year. Here are a couple of suggestions on ways to earn your hours!

(Please note, you may count up to 6 hours per year watching movies, documentaries, or TV series as part of your continued education. You may read as many books as you'd like but you may only count 3 hours of continuing education toward each book read.)

Congratulations, You're On Your Own:

Life After Foster Care

What to watch :

This documentary follows young adults going through the process of finding their way after foster care. Through youth telling their stories, and also by hearing from professionals in the field, it explains how children enter the foster care system, what happens while they are there, and especially the hardships they face as they transition out of it.

Watch for free here:

Pastel Decorative Background
Read this book and join us to discuss it at our next CASA book Club meeting on 4 17

Mildred Muhammad shares her story about rising up from the domestic abuse she endured from her ex-husband, John Allen Muhammad, the convicted D.C. Sniper.

Mildred witnessed firsthand John’s bizarre behavior after he returned from the Gulf War, but no one—including her family, friends, and local police—took her warnings seriously. Even when John kidnapped their three children for eighteen months, changing their identities and living with them on the run in Antigua, or when he threatened to kill Mildred, her pleas for help went unfounded and she was forced to live undercover for eight months in a women’s shelter.

Everyone knew John as a charming and intelligent man. No one could fathom that he posed a serious threat to Mildred, let alone the ten innocent victims he and his seventeen-year-old accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo would later kill to carry out John’s heinous plot to get custody of his and Mildred’s children...permanently. What began as a domestic case eventually victimized millions. And it has taken years for Mildred and her children to heal from the fear and psychological trauma they endured.

In Scared Silent, Mildred shares her personal story to show how domestic violence devastates entire families, including the children, and hopes that what she reveals will give new insight on this national social ill.

Scared Silent by Mildred Muhammad

Pink line blob vector
Blob Border
Organic Blob Aesthteic
Landscape Abstract Frame
When April 17 2023 at 6 30pm Where South Bend Chocolate Café 122 S Michigan St South Bend What to Read Scared Silent by Mildred Muhammad
Please join us and bring a friend This event is open to both CASA Volunteers and those interested in learning more about the program
Organic Blob Rectangle

CASA Book Club

Organic Abstract Shape
Abstract Blob Illustration
Aesthetic Blob With Monstera Leaf

Volunteer Birthdays



Jo Ann M.


Shari W.

Keziah P.


Mary Anne P.


Matt D.



Courtney K.


Sally S.


Susan M.


Joy W.


Beth V.


Tom M.


Andrea O.


Kris L.


Megan E.



Carys K.


Tom D.


Michelle E.


Lisa P.


Jennifer B.

Abstract Shapes Background
Text box

1 year

Kirstin R.

8 years

Matthew D. & Carol R.

paper text box

Volunteer Anniversaries

Thank You Typography Sticker

1 year

Marilou V., Stephanie L. & Mary G.

2 years

Josh W. & Preston C.

3 years

Kirt S.

4 years

Chris B., Tom D. & Carys K.

5 years

Lety S. & Courtney K.

6 years

Debbie B., Lisa P. & Amy C.

9 years

Joy W., Kris L. & Tom B.

10 years

Jo Ann M.

Text box
Decorative Colorful Background
Chunky Bold Birthday Stars
Staff Birthdays
Kawaii Handdrawn Birthday Star


Brittany O. - 1/1

Rebekah N. - 1/1

Tameria M. - 1/29

Bold Flat Birthday Cat


Stephanie S. 2/5

Cyrena W. - 2/22

Myles R. - 2/23

Birthday Cake
Bold Flat Twisted Birthday Balloon


Kyleigh L. - 3/6

Katie H. - 3/19

Colorful Organic Shapes Background
Colorful Handlettered Happy Anniversary Lockup


Vicki M 1 18 2022
Staff anniversaries


Becca H 2 1 2021 Myles R 2 1 2020 Mekenna M 2 28 2022
Kyleigh L 3 14 2022
Rebekah N 3 28 2022


absract background lines
exclamation mark error alert risj sign icon graphic illustra
Page Border

2023 Holiday Schedule

The CASA Office will be closed on the following dates:

  • February 20th - Presidents' Day

Happy Presidents Day Poster
Calendar with Marked Day off, Closeup
Page Border
exclamation mark error alert risj sign icon graphic illustra

January is

Birth Defects Awareness Month

CDC recognizes January as National Birth Defects Awareness Month. This is a time to raise awareness about birth defects and highlight efforts to improve the health of people living with these conditions across their lifespan. Join the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects and their impact on individuals, parents, and families.

To learn more, visit the CDC's website HERE.

February is

Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

To learn more, visit NAACP's website HERE.

March is

Disability Awareness Month

On February 26, 1987, President Ronald Reagan officially declared Proclamation 5613 making March National Disabilities Awareness Month. The proclamation called for people to provide understanding, encouragement and opportunities to help persons with disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

To learn more, visit the National Association of Counsels on Developmental Disabilities' website HERE.


To learn more about the program, visit our website.

Thank you for your continued support of the CASA Program of St. Joseph County!

Current Volunteers

Don't forget to log into Optima to document hours and update contact logs!

follow us on facebook

Blue Facebook Social Media Icon

Contact us

By Phone:

574-233-CASA (2272)

By Email:

Do you know someone who may be interested in learning about the CASA program Forward them this email