Director’s Note for February 2023 Newsletter

A note from Executive Director Kevin Kyle for the February 2023 “Good News at CASA” Newsletter:

Happy New Year!  There are so many good things happening at CASA in the new year that it is difficult to pick just a few to feature in this newsletter!  But the biggest and most exciting newsworthy notes have to start with our new staff members at CASA and a couple of important changes to the roles of others. I hope you will take time to read about our two newest staff members – Claire Moore and Christine Yacynych.   Both joined CASA at the beginning of January and both have already made an impact on our staff and the way we want to serve our advocates.  I hope you will read their bios in this letter and learn more about what led each of them to join our team.

I’ve also elevated two other employees to new leadership roles within our office.  Denise Hanley has been named Program Director and will continue to coordinate all of our supervisory staff and the way they work with all of our volunteers.  With the spectacular job she has done as Lead Supervisor, I felt it was time to acknowledge her leadership and ask her to help our entire staff set a new standard for volunteer support in 2023.

Melissa Ward has been named Director of Volunteer Engagement.  This means she will now be the “one stop shop” for all CASA advocates to build a relationship with.  She will recruit, she will train, and then she will be instrumental in retaining our volunteers.  She will be working closely with our supervisory staff to make sure that CASA does the very best job possible to make every advocate feel supported, valued, and appreciated.

Our CASA office has created a goal in 2023 to provide the “Premier Volunteer Experience” in Central Texas.  We depend on our volunteers like no other organization does.  The amount of time we ask you to invest, the thought and effort you put into your observations and reports, and the level of involvement and attachment you put in on your case is like no other organization.  We understand that your role as a mentor, a confidant, a caregiver, and voice for your CASA kid(s) is unique and requires support from our staff.  I believe that we now have the very best team of CASA staff members since I started over 2 years ago who are ready to make your experience even more worthwhile. Your time and energy does create an impact on everyone you serve in your case.  Our team wants to make sure you understand how much we appreciate your service and hopes to guide and support your efforts in any way possible – to make sure YOU feel supported and valued.

I want to encourage you to reach out to your supervisor or our staff – at any time you need help.  I can assure you that this “new and improved” team is ready to assist in any way possible.  As you embrace their ability to work with you on your case, support you in court, and get to know you as a friend – you will see that we have become the Premier Volunteer Organization in this region.

Finally, we can always use your help in other ways as well.  I encourage you to support our CASA events whenever possible. You will find info in this letter about our upcoming CASA/St. Patrick’s 5K race in early March.  We need sponsors, we need volunteers, and we need RUNNERS!!!  Sign up and come have fun on March 4th with your CASA friends.  We also have an event coming on February 23rd to recruit more “Men of CASA”.  Ask a male friend to register or bring a friend to explore what CASA is all about.  This is for “guys only” and we are thrilled to have Nolan Creek Brewery in Belton as our host for this event. Free adult beverages, appetizers, and pizza will be served.  We will also have a drawing for a great prize for ANYONE who refers a friend that shows up.  This means that ladies can still win by referring a male friend to attend.  We need more Men of CASA to serve the 50% of children in our care who are boys. These boys and young men desperately need a positive male figure helping them navigate life.  Ask ONE of your male friends to attend and learn more.  No obligation, no pressure, just a fun night out and the chance to learn more about CASA and enjoy cold beverages, and great pizza with CASA Friends.

I cherish your service and support of CASA.  We could not impact the lives of children without your help. If it has been a while since you took a new case, or you want to get more involved, I ask you to get off the sidelines and get in the game…..please give us a call. We are growing, we are adding new volunteers constantly, and we are enlarging the circle of impact you are having on kids thanks to your efforts. Volunteer advocates are the lifeblood of CASA and we are intent on providing better support and showing our gratitude for your service.  Thank you for all that you do for CASA.  I hope to see you at the CASA office soon.