The CASA Program of St. Joseph County
1st Quarter 2023
CASA Makes a Difference
CASA Demographics for 2022:
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Jenny C. -- Thank you for tirelessly advocating for your CASA child. You truly have the child's best interest at heart!
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
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!
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:
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
CASA Book Club
Jo Ann M.
Mary Anne P.
Matthew D. & Carol R.
Marilou V., Stephanie L. & Mary G.
Josh W. & Preston C.
Chris B., Tom D. & Carys K.
Lety S. & Courtney K.
Debbie B., Lisa P. & Amy C.
Joy W., Kris L. & Tom B.
Jo Ann M.
Brittany O. - 1/1
Rebekah N. - 1/1
Tameria M. - 1/29
Stephanie S. 2/5
Cyrena W. - 2/22
Myles R. - 2/23
Kyleigh L. - 3/6
Katie H. - 3/19
2023 Holiday Schedule
The CASA Office will be closed on the following dates:
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.
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.
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.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER
Thank you for your continued support of the CASA Program of St. Joseph County!
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