The CASA Program of St. Joseph County Newsletter
3rd Quarter 2022
CASA Makes a Difference
CASA Demographics for 2022 to date:
Congratulations to our newest CASA Volunteer, Kelly!
Please help us welcome our newest Staff Advocate Rebekah!
Rebekah grew up in Kosciusko County. She resides in Elkhart County with her son, cat (Savannah), and two Guinea Pigs (Chalupa and Nugget). She has worked with families and their loved ones with disabilities for the past several years. She enjoys spending time with her family. In the warm months she likes to ride her bike and explore hiking trails.
Rebekah is excited to be working with families and advocating for children for the CASA Program of St. Joseph County!
New Staff Advocate!
Thank you to the South Bend Motor Speedway for honoring CASA and other social work organizations during Roofsit night!
Save the Date!
August 2, 2022
Join CASA at the 11th annual St. joseph county police department's Night out against crime
at Newton Park
National Volunteer Week 2022
CASA Volunteer Pre-Service Training Calendar 2022
There's still time to join!
fall training will be a hybrid course with one class each week meeting via zoom
White's Foster Walk
STAFF SPOTLIGHT Brenda, CASA Director
How long have you been working for CASA? I have been employed with CASA since 2003.
What drew you to a career at CASA? The CASA Program of St. Joseph County was under the umbrella
of Youth Service Bureau many years ago, and during that time I worked with Youth Service
Bureau as the Director of another program. CASA was a very familiar entity for many years prior to
working with CASA. I believed in the importance and need for advocates for children in foster care
and believed I could help advance the program.
What is one of the most rewarding parts of your job at CASA? I spent many years serving as
the Executive Director and the Recruiter/Trainer for CASA. The most rewarding part of working for
CASA is seeing an unsure potential volunteer grow and learn to become a skilled, knowledgeable,
confident, advocate for a child. Being involved with people who play a vital role in helping children successfully achieve permanency and seeing a child's life improve in a myriad of ways, solidifies why we are here.
Tell me something interesting about yourself. I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college. Despite being a dedicated student in high school, I never received much direction from my high school guidance department. I didn't have specific plans after I graduated high school, but definitely felt the pull to go into the military. Some family issues arose and the need to remain in the community presented itself, so I went to work full time at 17 years old. During that summer, I felt a strong desire to do something that would contribute to my community, and a meeting with the late Charles Martin Sr. put me on the path to college. I still remember our meeting, and frequently wonder how many people's lives he touched during his short years on earth. I am thankful for many who provided support on my journey, and Mr. Martin will always be remembered as an instrumental person who helped me become who I am today.
What is some advice you would give to someone considering becoming a CASA volunteer? Other than being a parent, there are few roles more important than advocating for our most vulnerable members of society. Take the leap, commit to a child. You will learn about your community, the needs of our youth, and grow in your own skills and abilities to improve the well-being not only of foster children, but of people of all walks of life. You have a voice, use it for good works.
Volunteer Spotlight: Courtney K.
Courtney Kubly has lived in the Michiana area for 6 years, moving here from Wisconsin with her husband Derek and their dogs. Courtney is the Director of Business Development for Downtown South Bend Inc (DTSB) and is passionate about her community. In addition to her role in the past 4 years as a CASA volunteer, she serves as a Board Member for 5 nonprofits and agencies.
Courtney was inspired to be a CASA from seeing her Grandma Betty advocate for kids in Illinois through her local CASA chapter while Courtney was in college. She witnessed the positive impact that a CASA has on children and their families. Courtney has always been passionate about children's welfare and has been involved with programs and services for children and teens both in Wisconsin and locally. She currently co-facilitates the GIRLs program for female high school students through Leadership South Bend Mishawaka.
The most challenging but engaging thing about being a CASA is that all cases are so different, you are constantly learning new things and needing to adapt to changes quickly within the legal system, DCS, placements, and the needs of the child.
She would encourage anyone interested to be a CASA, as it truly is a life changing, and even lifesaving experience. While there are hard moments, they are outweighed by the happy ones!
An Evening with
CASA Staff and Volunteers had the opportunity to see Dave Pelzer speak at the Century Center on April 21, 2022! Thank you Mary Jo and Marty for the tickets, and thank you to all who attended!
When: September 30, 2022
Where: South Bend Firefighters union hall
4025 W Lincolnway W, South Bend, IN 46628
cost: Trivia tables will cost $200 per table (10 guests)
food/Drink: trivia guests may either purchase food and beverages from the union hall, or they may bring in their own snacks and food.
more details to follow!
Hosted by the friends of the JJC
Continuing Education Hours
CASA Volunteers and Staff are required to completed 12 hours of continued 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.)
Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix
Recommended by Staff Supervisor Kim
Adapted from the New York Times Best Selling Memoir, Directed by Ron Howard.
What to watch : hillbilly elegy
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild, [J.D.], would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.
But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.
Description of J. D. Vance's Memoir from Amazon.com
Recommended by CASA Volunteer Sue S.
When foster carer, Cathy Glass, is asked to foster Darcy-May, a two-day old baby, she is very concerned.
The baby is coming to her straight from the hospital and will have no contact with her teenage mother, Haylea. Even more worrying, she will be brought to Cathy with a police escort as it’s vital her extended family don’t know where she is.
Abandoned at birth, Cathy and her family quickly bond with little Darcy-May although they have to accept she will eventually leave them to be adopted. But fostering is rarely straight forward, and when Haylea asks to see her baby a different story begins to emerge. It’s so alarming that even Cathy, a highly experienced foster carer, struggles.
An Innocent Baby
By Cathy Glass
Summary from Amazon.com
Interested in reading more books related to your work as a CASA? Join National CASA's Book Club HERE !
We're starting a casa program of St. joseph county book club!
Location: Local Coffee Shops/ Local Businesses
Day of the Week & Time : TBD ( A survey will be included in the sign up form)
TO JOIN THE BOOK CLUB:
Books will be related to CASA topics and will count towards your continued education hours.
The best part is, you don't have to be a CASA to join!
Invite your friends! If they've been interested in the social work field, or want to know more about what it's like to be a CASA, they can get their feet wet by joining our book club!
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Each July, several mental health organizations across the country shed light on the multitude of mental health experiences within communities of color, including Black and Indigenous people, and others that face disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity.
To learn more, visit: https://mhttcnetwork.org/centers/mhttc-network-coordinating-office/july-national-minority-mental-health-awareness-month
August is MedicAlert Awareness Month
MedicAlert Medical IDs aren’t anything new. Despite the fact that the founding company of ID bracelets has been around since 1956, there’s still a lack of awareness as to what they are. Commonly, it’s only people who have chronic health concerns and their families who know about Medic Alert IDs.
MedicAlert IDs can be worn in bracelet or necklace form. With new technology you can even download your full medical history to a smart bracelet that first responders can download when they arrive. There are various brands and types of ID jewlery and ID cards available.
To learn more, visit: https://www.medicalert.org/
September is National Suicide Prevention Month
All month, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness.
To learn more, visit: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/promote-national-suicide-prevention-month/
The CASA Program of St. Joseph County is a recipient of a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). VOCA funds enable our program to serve approximately 150 children each year.
The newest terms and conditions of the grant require all Indiana CASA volunteers and staff to be fingerprinted by September 30, 2022. Fingerprinting is a fairly common requirement of most youth serving entities, including the Indiana Department of Child Services, and programs working with vulnerable youth. We realize this may seem like an inconvenience, but the underlying purpose of this requirement is to protect children.
The Indiana State Office of GAL/CASA contracts with Safe Hiring Solutions in Danville, Indiana, to conduct background checks for all Indiana CASA staff and volunteers. Safe Hiring Solutions has agreed to conduct a fingerprinting event at the Juvenile Justice Center on Thursday, July 14, 2022, for all staff and volunteers.
In order for our program to be in compliance and continue receiving VOCA funding, all CASA staff and volunteers must be fingerprinted before September 30, 2022. If you cannot attend this event, you will need to make other arrangements with our program for fingerprinting to remain serving as a CASA.
Please mark your calendars and look for more registration details to follow.
Current CASAs Save the Date:
July 14, 2022