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CASA News

CASA is offering a special daytime training beginning on Sept 30. Rather than the typical evening training of two nights a week for five weeks, this training will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for roughly two weeks, Monday through Thursday (Sept 30 – Oct 15)

On August 13, 2019, the Hon. Ariadne Symons swore in 18 community members as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in foster care. This was upon their completion of the CASA 35-hour training program.

If you have 2-4 hours a week to be there for a child in foster care, you CAN make a difference. 

This year marks the ten year anniversary of the Casa for CASA Capital Campaign. Ten years ago, a dedicated group of staff, Board and community members launched the Casa for CASA Capital Campaign to raise funds to purchase the beautiful CASA home in Watsonville.

Marlene had been sober for seven years when a traumatic event in her family triggered a relapse and she had begun using again. She was scared and overwhelmed the day the Dependency Court Judge removed her children from her care. She felt like the Judge only saw her drug addiction, not her love for her children or her deep regret for getting to this point. She says that she knows now the Judge was seeing much more than she thought at the time, and she is thankful the Court stepped in when they did. It saved her family. Click to read the full story.

Meet our new Advocate Supervisor and Early Childhood Specialist, Roxy Greenspan!

When children must be removed from their families due to abuse or neglect, it is the hope that most children will be able to return to a safe home.

If you have 2-4 hours a week to be there for a child in foster care, you CAN make a difference.
Register at https://casaofsantacruz.org/signup/

Congratulations to our newest class of Court Appointed Special Advocates sworn in this week by Judge Connolly.

Have you been wanting to learn more about volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate but can't make it to an information meeting? Join us for an online information meeting on Tuesday, May 21, at 10:00 a.m. Register at casaofsantacruz.org/webinar

With more than 440,000 youth in foster care, there are plenty of ways to make a difference during this month. Here are ideas for how to support National Foster Care Month.

Shockingly in our country, nearly ¼ of all child abuse victims are under the age of one.  And in Santa Cruz, nearly 40% of the children who were found to be victims of abuse were under the age of two. Knowing that raising healthy children starts at day one and hearing these statistics, how can we not be moved to act? Read the full article.

CASA of Santa Cruz County is proud to announce that Lynda Leigh, a long-time CASA volunteer Advocate has won the Cesar E. Chavez Award in the Adult Role Model category. The awards ceremony was held on March 28, 6:00 PM in the City of Watsonville Community Room

CASA of Santa Cruz County recently welcomed new members to their Board of Directors, Linda Bixby, Matt Gianelli, Chris Sheehy, and Andrea Willy. The new members join a very committed and active Board led by Nancy Gordon, President; Chris Sheehy, Vice President; Phuong Mayer, Treasurer; and Sesario Escoto, Secretary.

Mark you calendars to join us on Tuesday, March 26 at Shadowbrook.
Be sure to let your server know you are Dining for CASA and 1/3 of your meal will be donated to support children and youth in foster care.
Call for reservations at 475-1511.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the "For the Love of Children Luncheon" last week. And thank you so much to our sponsors: Bontadelli Farms, John Lehr, Janis Ost, Diane and Doug Deaver, Esther Sylvan, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Bay Federal Credit Union, Plantronics Inc., Kaiser Permanente, ADR Services. We are stronger with your support!

Have you been curious about CASA?
Come check out the house and learn more about what a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate does to help children and youth in our community.

The first class of 2019 began on January 29 with CASA’S new trainer, Jenny Hundemer. Read the full article.

"I am struck by the fact that CASA is an integral part of the system or “family” that is raising the dependent children of Santa Cruz. "
Read the full article.

When someone becomes interested in volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for a child in foster care, they don’t always know what they will be doing as a CASA for a baby. Becky became the CASA for Janie when she came into the foster care system at three months old. When Janie was reunited with her birth parents, Becky’s advocacy went into high gear.
Read the full story.

CASA of Santa Cruz County lost an important member of our CASA family on November 19, 2018. During his more than 15 years as a dedicated CASA Advocate, Dave Bartlett supported and mentored nine children and youth; and in 2003 was chosen from thousands of Advocates nationwide as National Child Advocate of the Year by the National CASA Association. Read more...

Conny was just four years old when she was removed from her parents’ care and placed in her first foster home. Over the years, she was moved to seven different homes and ended up feeling unwanted and alone. It was difficult to trust anyone and she began to emotionally shut down. Click to read more.

Did you know that volunteers devote just 2-4 hours a week to showing up for a child or youth in foster care, and the impact they can have is life-changing?
Upcoming information meetings are:
Tuesday, December 11, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at CASA, 813 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville; OR
Tuesday, December 11, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Live Oak Family Resource Center, located at 1740 17th Ave. in Santa Cruz
Sign up or view dates, times and locations of other information meetings HERE.

Read Dahlia's story

Denise brings her years of experience as a teacher as well as all she has learned as a parent of a child with special needs. When she met Jose*, her current CASA child, she learned that he didn’t speak. He was four years old and clearly impacted by trauma. She knew that he understood language and was smart, and while the rest of his team of caregivers and social workers didn’t think he could attend preschool, she knew that with the right support, he would do well. Click to read more.

Many times, children being bullied are frightened to talk about what's happening to them. For many children in foster care, their CASA can be the one adult they trust enough to speak to. Click image to see full post.

CASA's greatest need is for more bilingual volunteers to serve children and youth in foster care. Advocate Supervisor, Lucia de la Torre spoke with Univision KSMS for this segment on Despierta Monterey. Please help us find more caring adults who are ready to make a difference for a child in foster care.
View the segment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jxQOVPx9uw

In Santa Cruz County more than 500 children live in foster care each year because they have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Most of our county’s children in foster care live in Watsonville and about 25% need help from someone who speaks Spanish.

CASA of Santa Cruz County is pleased to announce the appointment of Lynne Petrovic as its new Executive Director effective August 6, 2018. Click for full article

Is now the time for you to take the plunge and become a Court Appointed Special Advocate??
You do not have to be a lawyer or social worker to volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers are everyday people, trained by CASA and then appointed by judges to advocate for the safety of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Click the image to learn more.

Each month at CASA we celebrate, appreciate and highlight the story and experience of one of our wonderful Advocates. Each has a unique story and perspective and each child that they work with is in a different situation and has different needs. We hope that by sharing their individual stories, we can honor the stories and experiences of all Advocates. This month we got to know Larry Willis

We are so excited to introduce you to Lyndsey Marks! Lyndsey joined CASA of Santa Cruz in June as Development Director. She brings thirteen years of experience working in the non-profit sector with six years in fundraising. Early in her career, she developed a passion for serving youth in need. Working with Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara County, she helped teens in crisis find much-needed resources to be safe and housed. She developed a nationally recognized best practice youth development program, working with adult mentor volunteers and teen leaders. The last four years, she spent as Development Director for Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, so don’t be surprised to see her tooling around by bike!

Megan Grewohl joined CASA of Santa Cruz in May as an Advocate Supervisor and specialist with older youth in care. We are so lucky to have her on our team! We look forward to benefitting from her ten+ years of experience working in child welfare. She says her love of working with children was born when she was working in summer camps in Michigan (where she is from). She then went on to working in a residential treatment facility before moving from her small farm home-town to sunny Santa Cruz.

CASA will be offering a daytime training this summer. Rather than the typical evening training of two nights a week for five weeks, this training will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for two and a half weeks, Monday through Thursday in Aptos from August 13 through August 28.

The daytime class is a rare opportunity that we hope you'll take advantage of, as our need for Advocates continues to grow. Sign up at www.casaofsantacruz.org/daytime.

Each month at CASA we celebrate, appreciate and highlight the story and experience of one of our wonderful Advocates. Each has a unique story and perspective and each child that they work with is in a different situation and has different needs. We hope that by sharing their individual stories, we can honor the stories and experiences of all Advocates. This month we got to know Becky Oesterle.

Walk with CASA at the Santa Cruz Pride Parade on Sunday, June 3rd.
Sign up to join us HERE. We'll email details of when and where to meet for the parade.
We will have bubbles and CASA t-shirts, you just bring your smiles, your walking shoes and your love for CASA and the kids we serve.

Whether you have a few minutes, hours, weeks or more, there are lots of ways that you can show your support and make a difference for children and youth in foster care. Click Here to see 25 things you can do! Please be sure to like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and encourage others to get involved too.

Child Abuse Prevention Month is a great time to get involved and make a difference.You can help make great childhoods happen by becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate, making a donation or visiting our CASA store and helping spread the word about CASA.

At CASA, we are always looking for ways to celebrate our amazing Advocates. In keeping with that intention, every month we will highlight the story and experience of one Advocate who is working with a child or youth. Every Advocate has a story, and we hope that by regularly featuring individual Advocates, we can honor the stories and experiences of all.
This month, we got to know Savanna Sandusky.

Long-time Advocate Denise Gomez is one of seven recipients of the 2018 Cesar Chavez Community Awards.
Please join us at the awards celebration on Thursday, March 22, from 6 – 8 p.am. at the Civic Plaza Community Room, 275 Main Street, 4th floor, in Watsonville.

At CASA, we are always looking for ways to celebrate our amazing Advocates. In keeping with that intention, every month we will highlight the story and experience of one Advocate who is working with a child or youth. Every Advocate has a story, and we hope that by regularly featuring individual Advocates, we can honor the stories and experiences of all. This month, we introduce you to Tracy Baker. Click to read her story.

Come to an information meeting this month to learn how you can become a Court Appointed Special Advocate.
• Tuesday, March 13, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Live Oak Family Resource Center, located at 1740 17th Ave. in Santa Cruz
OR
• Wedensday, March 14, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at CASA, located at 813 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville.
Sign up at https://casaofsantacruz.org/volunteer/information-meeting-signup.html

Thank you to everyone who attended CASA's For the Love of Children luncheon on 2/7. It was an amazing event, especially the testimonial of 18-year old CASA youth Raquel and her Advocate, Cindy. Many thanks to Laurie Aiello for taking these wonderful photographs -- you can truly see the love of children in everyone's eyes!

Every Advocate has a story, and we hope that by regularly featuring individual Advocates, we can honor the stories and experiences of all. This month, we sat down with Mari Briones.

CASA volunteers are everyday people, trained by CASA and then appointed by judges to advocate for the safety of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Click for full article...

The CASA Board would like to share with our community that after serving for six years as the Executive Director of CASA of Santa Cruz County, Cynthia Druley will be retiring in August of this year. Click to read the full announcement.

We have an immediate opening for a part-time Events Coordinator. This position works on the planning and implementation of CASA's two major fundraising events. Approximately 10 hours/week.

At CASA, we are always looking for ways to celebrate our amazing Advocates. In keeping with that intention, every month we will highlight the story and experience of one Advocate who is working with a child or youth. Every Advocate has a story, and we hope that by regularly featuring individual Advocates, we can honor the stories and experiences of all. This month we got to talk with Sarah Amador.

Those smiles are because of the generosity of so many who made this difficult time a little better by their donations.

... but you CAN make a difference for a child in foster care.
The next training to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate begins January 30th.

Watch Conny's Story