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The CASA Program of St. Joseph County

The Advocate

3rd Quarter 2023

CASA Demographics to date for 2023:

  • Number of Children Served to Date: 626

  • Number of Children on the Waiting List: 35

  • Number of CASA Staff Full-Time: 16

  • Number of CASA Staff Part-Time: 3

  • Number of Active Volunteers to Date: 101

CASA Makes a Difference

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Congratulations CASA Spring Training Graduates
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Congratulations Typography for Banner
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Congratulations CASA Summer Training Graduates!

Congratulations CASA Summer Training Graduates!

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lettering and greetings you did it sticker
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Come join us this fall! 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:

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Lend your voice Advocate for children
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To sign up for training email or call our Recruiter Trainer Amanda at abuchholz jjconline org 574 245 6735


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Bianca graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She worked in Florida at an emergency shelter for children in foster care for almost 7 years.

She moved to Indiana in 2021 and worked for Youth Service Bureau (YSB) where she taught various types of skills to elementary students. Bianca’s passion is advocating for children and being the voice that they need.

When Bianca is not advocating for children in the community, she is cheering on her own kids in their various sporting events. She also enjoys traveling and being outdoors with her family.

Bianca looks forward to making a difference in the lives of the children that the CASA program serves.

Please help us welcome our newest Staff Advocate, Bianca!

New Staff Advocate!

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What brought you to CASA
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What s your favorite part of working at CASA
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What are some tips you have for new and current CASA Volunteers

I had known about CASA for years while working at the JJC with a juvenile program and had engaged with CASA volunteers while working at a foster care agency. I always found the CASA staff and volunteers to be kind, dedicated people, and had the utmost respect for them. It was an easy choice to come work for the CASA program!

Meeting volunteers, hearing their individual stories, and watching them use their unique strengths and capabilities for the good of our local children. It is always good to see that you had a part in a child obtaining safe and healthy permanency, whether it is reunification with their family or alternatives like a guardianship or adoption.

Never feel as though your contribution is too small. Sometimes it is not seen immediately, but it can be felt for years to come. To those still debating on volunteering, if you don't do it, who will?

Staff Supervisor Kim M.

Staff Supervisor Kim M.

Staff Spotlight:

Staff Spotlight:

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Sally S.

Sally S.

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recently took on a difficult case and has been a great advocate for the child while she is learning the new case and everything that goes with it. Great work, Sally!

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of Service

Joy W.

Joy W.

just closed her 10th case and is already waiting to be appointed to a new case! Joy has been a CASA volunteer for 9 years and has helped many children! We're grateful for you, Joy!

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Kudos to who will drive to the end of the earth to meet with is CASA kiddo. Thank you for tirelessly advocating for the children in our community!

Dale S.

Dale S.

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Suzanne W.

Suzanne W.

received her first case in May. She jumped right in and has been diligently adding detailed contact logs into Optima! Great job, Suzanne!

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Jenny M.

Jenny M.

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was sworn in with the winter class and jumped right into her case! She has done such a great job seeing her children monthly and advocating for their best interests. Thanks for all you do, Jenny!

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Barb R.

Barb R.

had a tough permanency hearing this past month. She worked so hard perfecting her court report and did an amazing job advocating for her kids in the hearing! Amazing job, Barb!

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Kudos to

who is fresh out of training and hit the ground running! She helped preserve a placement and truly has the children's best interest at heart! We are so grateful for you!

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Valerie V.

Valerie V.

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South Bend Community Schools Require Clear Backpacks and Lunchboxes for 2023-2024 School Year











more resources for back to school supplies!

The Christ Child Society Clothing Center in Town and Country Shopping Center will open on August 9 at 8:30 AM. New clothing is available for children from birth to 14 years who are eligible for free school lunch. Each child receives a winter coat, jeans, leggings or joggers, shirts, underwear, socks and athletic shoes, as well as gently used clothing, dental supplies and a book.

The Clothing Center will be open every Wednesday through mid-December, plus six Sunday afternoons and ten Thursday evenings. If you know of a child who could benefit from these services, a referral from a local agency or child’s school is required. For a schedule and a list of referral agencies, go to









You may have noticed our Facebook page has been inactive. Our program is diligently working with Facebook in efforts to get our page up and running again.

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In the meantime, keep up with program news by following our Twitter account!


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CASA Volunteer Focus Group

We are looking for CASA volunteers who are willing to attend a focus group to discuss their ideas for improving the program.

  • What works?
  • What strategies need tweaking?
  • Where are the best places to recruit?

If you are interested in attending a focus group, please fill out the survey and let us know your availability.

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Continuing Education Hours

CASA Volunteers and Staff are required to complete at least 12 hours of continuing education each calendar year.

**This includes volunteers who have taken a break and are not actively working a case!**

CASA Volunteers and Staff are required to complete at least 12 hours of continuing education each calendar year.

**This includes volunteers who have taken a break and are not actively working a case!**

You may accumulate and log over 12 hours per year.

You may accumulate and log over 12 hours per year.

In-service trainings held by the CASA office in person, or offered via video

Indiana State CASA Webinars.

The CASA Office has a catalog!

Up to 3 hours per book read

Plus 1 hour for attending CASA Book Club Meetings!

Please use at least 3 different methods to complete your 12 hours

Attending the State or National CASA Conferences

Up to 6 hours per year

watching movies/

documentaries or TV series approved by your supervisor

Some College Courses

Any training/webinar that pertains to your work as a CASA volunteer approved by your supervisor or sent out by the CASA office

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Check out all the ways you can earn your hours

What to watch:

The Crime of the Century - Max (HBO)

have you ever wondered how millions of americans became addicted to opioids?

or how our country fell into this opioid epidemic so quickly?

You may be surprised at the answers.

have you ever wondered how millions of americans became addicted to opioids?

or how our country fell into this opioid epidemic so quickly?

You may be surprised at the answers.

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Dave Pelzer Series:

A Child Called "It":

As a child, Dave was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous games--games that left him, Dave, nearly dead. With only his willpower to survive, Dave learned how to play his Mother's sinister games in order to survive because she no longer considered Dave a son but a slave, and no longer a boy but an "It."

The Lost Boy:

Having been subjected to years of extreme physical and psychological suffering, Dave fights for a stable setting, but finds himself moving in and out of five different homes, while continuing the fight to cope with his past. Throughout Dave's journey, social service personnel, educators, counselors, and foster parents give their all to ensure Dave's well-being and protection from his vindictive mother, who, at one point, wishes to have Dave committed to a mental institution.

A Man Named Dave:

With stunning generosity of spirit, Dave invites his readers on his journey to discover how he turned shame into pride and rejection into

acceptance--how a lost, nameless boy finally found himself in the heart and soul of a man who is free at last.

The Privilege of Youth: A Teenager's Story:

With his usual sensitivity and insight, he recounts the relentless taunting he endured from bullies; but he also describes the joys of learning and the thrill of making his first real friends - some of whom he still shares close relationships with today.

He writes about the simple pleasures of exploring a neighborhood he was just beginning to get to know . . .The Privilege of Youth, A Story of Longing for Acceptance and Friendship.

What To Read

Next Book
What Happened to You Conversations on Trauma Resilience and Healing By Bruce D Perry MD PhD and Oprah Winfrey

Next Meeting:

When: October 16, 2023 at 6:30 PM

Where: South Bend Chocolate Café Downtown South Bend

Have you ever wondered "Why did I do that?" or "Why can't I just control my behavior?" Others may judge our reactions and think, "What's wrong with that person?" When questioning our emotions, it's easy to place the blame on ourselves; holding ourselves and those around us to an impossible standard. It's time we started asking a different question.

Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

Here, Winfrey shares stories from her own past, understanding through experience the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma and adversity at a young age. In conversation throughout the book, she and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves. It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it’s one that allows us to understand our pasts in order to clear a path to our future—opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.

Please join us and bring a friend! This event is open to both CASA Volunteers and those interested in learning more about the program!

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