Newspaper Background

The CASA Program of St. Joseph County

The Advocate

1st Quarter 2024

CASA Makes a Difference

CASA Demographics for 2023:

  • Number of Children Served in 2023: 699
  • Number of Children on the Waiting List at the End of the Year: 100
  • Number of CASA Staff Full-Time: 16
  • Number of CASA Staff Part-Time: 3
  • Number of Active Volunteers in 2023: 115

Follow our NEW Facebook page!

Blue Facebook Social Media Icon
Mouse Click Icon

2023 in Review:

  • 699 children served in 2023
  • 100 children on the waitlist at year’s end
  • 2 staff positions that we have just hired for which will help reduce/eliminate the waitlist
  • 115 active volunteers in 2023
  • 19 new volunteers in 2023
  • 15 local businesses were Toy Drive drop-off locations
  • 450 children gifted presents for the holidays
  • 39 families “adopted” for the holidays
  • 4 quarterly newsletters sent out to over 1,000 subscribers
  • 4 book club meetings
  • 3 staff attend Trauma Informed Care Training
  • 30+ presentations, events, and meetings with local organizations to share the mission of CASA and the need for volunteers
  • 2 focus groups held with current and former CASA volunteers
  • 15 Adoptions on Adoption Day, November 17, 2023

The success of our program is possible thanks to our volunteers, staff, and the support of Judge Cichowicz and the Juvenile Justice Center.

Thank You Typography

We would like to thank the Philanthropy Lab for awarding our program with a $10,000 grant which will help us fund a part-time staff person! This is the second time our program has received a grant from Notre Dame.

The Philanthropy Lab, a Texas-based nonprofit devoted to philanthropy education, provides financial and curricular support for the class, which offers students from a variety of academic backgrounds the opportunity to engage with local nonprofits while learning about the history and role of philanthropy in the United States.

Central to the experiential nature of the course, students research and visit local nonprofits, request and review funding proposals and work as a board of directors to award real grant money to multiple organizations each year, representing a diverse cross-section of the nonprofit community.

Monochromatic Blue Scattered Star Shaped Confetti Cascading Diagonally
Monochromatic Blue Scattered Star Shaped Confetti Cascading Diagonally
Congratulations to our FALL CASA Class Graduates
Antique Framework. Vintage Picture Frame Isolated on Transparent Background
Lend your voice Advocate for children

“Somebody has to stand when other people are sitting. Somebody has to speak when everyone else is quiet.”

- Bryan Stevenson

Volunteers needed. Volunteering concept, helping others  lettering, Handwritten Vector Design Element

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:

Volunteer Stories - The Joys of Reunification

Volunteer: BOB M.

I recently saw a post on Facebook by the mother of one of my former CASA kids. She had gotten Parkinson’s years ago from welding, she was a union ironworker and had spells where she couldn’t get out of bed one day and the next she could. Her shaking/tremors never really went away. I had gotten close to the family during my time as a volunteer because it was a long ugly case.

I sent her a message and asked how she was doing. We met for lunch soon after. It was so nice visiting with her and hearing updates on my former CASA kid. He was in the 4th grade the last time I saw him and now he is in the Marines! His mom FaceTimed him while we were at lunch, so I got to see and talk to him. He is overseas right now. He’s been all over Europe and loving life.

I want people to know about the rewards of being a CASA. You enter someone’s life that really needs help, volunteering your time for no other reason than to help them. Seeing what a great man my former CASA kid turned into and feeling appreciation for what I did to help the family was the greatest feeling I’ve had in a very long time.

Getting old is no joy ride, but when those successes in your life pop up you really feel like you left things better than you found them. When I got back home I was riding around town in my car and I noticed that my face didn’t really hurt, but was uncomfortable. I realized I hadn’t quit smiling all afternoon. I just felt really satisfied that I made a difference in that family’s world.

Abstract Torn Paper Vector

CASA Kudos

Walt R.- Walt used his free South Bend Cubs tickets from the CASA office to take his CASA child to a game in September. Walt drove from South Bend to Gary, IN and back to transport his CASA child. It was an evening game and Walt made sure to stay until the end since the child was enjoying his first baseball game so much. They even stayed to watch the fireworks! This made it a really late night for Walt. Walt has been on this case since 2016 and continues to be a constant in this child's life. Thank you Walt for your service!

Well Done, Good Job Stickers

Patti P. - Patti was recently sworn in with the November class. She jumped right into advocating for the child on her case and making sure the child receives the services she needs. Thank you for all you do, Patti!

Bravo Encouragement Word Sticker

Jennifer B.- Jennifer just finished out a 2 year long case, which ended in adoption. Throughout her time on this case, Jennifer advocated hard and made a difference for her child! Great job, Jennifer!

Abstract Torn Paper Vector

CASA Kudos

Cindi B.- Kudos to Cindi who uses her education background to get her CASA kiddo the best help he can get in academics!

Sharon L. - Kudos to Sharon on her recommendation in court and having it granted. Great job on your testimony!

Amazing Work - Text
Lined Minimal Excellent

Alexis S.- Alexis has been diligent in gathering information to ensure she is advocating in her child's best interest. She maintains great communication with all team members and did a great job testifying on important information in court. Nice work, Alexis!

Buildable Christmas Backgrounds Christmas Lights
Buildable Christmas Backgrounds Christmas Lights
Holiday Toy Drive
Thank You Typography
Red Satin Bow Corner Ribbon

Wrap Week

Thank you Cressy and Everett
Fairy Lights corner decoration
Candy cane Christmas page corner
Premium isolated images & templates
Corner Holly Berry.
Thank you Holladay Properties
Ribbon Bow gold color.
Christmas baubles corner decoration edging
Elf corner with Christmas Fairy lights
Thank you CASA volunteers
Christmas ornament corner
Silver Metallic Bow Illustration
Thank you friends and family

Holiday Party 2023

Holiday Party 2023

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

0-4 Years

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

0-4 Years

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

5-10 Years

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

5-10 Years

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

10-15 Years

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

10-15 Years

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

20 Years

Holiday Party 2023

Years of Service

20 Years

red gradient fades


at the state house

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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!

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

Simple Tablet Frame

Continuing Education Hours

What to watch :

Take Care of Maya

In October 2016, Jack Kowalski took his 10-year-old daughter Maya to a hospital emergency room seeking help for extreme pain related to her documented neurological condition: complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Just days later, Maya was declared a ward of the state after physicians suspected her mother, Beata, of child abuse. For the couple, it marked the beginning of a nightmare as they were cut off from their daughter who was held at the hospital against her will. With little recourse, they had no option but to comply. In the excruciating months that followed, Jack and Beata found themselves at the mercy of a flawed child welfare system and ultimately embroiled in a David and Goliath legal battle with devastating consequences.

Next Meeting:

When: January 23, 2024 @ 6:30 PM

Where: South Bend Chocolate Café Downtown South Bend

Next Book:

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it.

Need Continuing Education Hours?

Check out the CASA Lending Library!

Located in the reception area of the CASA office.

3 Continuing Education hours per book

Volunteer Birthdays




Carys K.

Megan B.


Kim L.


Tom D.


Michelle E.


Lisa P.


Katie P.


Jennifer B.

Helium Balloons Flying Illustration



Sally S.


Susan M.


Joy G.


Courtney K.


Kris L.


Megan E.

Happy Birthday


Brittany O.


Jo Ann M.


Micolette P.


Mary Anne P.


Matt D.

Helium Balloons Flying Illustration
Birthday Cake Party
Celebration Icon
Celebrating, crowd, friends icon.

Volunteer Anniversaries

Celebration Icon

2 years

Marilou V., Stephanie L. & Mary G.

3 years

Josh W. & Preston C.

5 years

Tom D. & Carys K.

1 year

Jenny M.

Ashley G.

Brenda C.

Mike P.

2 years

Kirstin R.

9 years

Matt D.

6 years

Lety V-S. & Courtney K.

7 years

Debbie B., Lisa P. & Amy C.

10 years

Joy G., Kris L. & Tom B.

11 years

Jo Ann M.

Happy Anniversary hand drawn
Celebration Icon
Birthday Cupcakes
Staff Birthdays


Rebekah N. - 1/1

Tameria M. - 1/29


Stephanie S. 2/5

Myles R. - 2/23

Michelle K. - 2/23


Kyleigh L. - 3/6

Katie H. - 3/19

Pink Peony Flower as Abstract Floral Background
Staff anniversaries



Kyleigh L.


Rebekah N.


Becca H.


Myles R.


Balloon Happy  Anniversary
Sorry, We're Closed
Page Border

2024 Holiday Schedule

The CASA Office will be closed on the following dates:

  • January 1, 2024 - New Years Day
  • January 15, 2024 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 19, 2024 - Presidents Day
  • March 29, 2024 - Good Friday

Page Border

February is

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.

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