Directors Note for June 2024

I’m sure there are high water marks for every CASA office for a variety of achievements, challenges, and accomplishments. On Thursday, June 6th, our CASA office recognized two very special people for a tremendous accomplishment and dedicated support that has never been seen before at our local CASA office.

Mike and Sara Dent donated the proceeds of the 4th Annual CASA Classic Golf Tournament to our agency at a special press conference held at their restaurant. The Dent’s presented CASA with a check for $60,000 which has grown from just over $30,000 less than four years ago. To say these funds are sincerely appreciated is a huge understatement.

In 2023 –for the first time ever, we were able to hire a fifth full time advocate supervisor to our staff. Our office is growing because of this support – and we needed to add a supervisor to continue that growth. Texas CASA guidelines state that each supervisor can only oversee a maximum of 30 volunteers. We were just over the 120-mark last year and thanks to outstanding recruiting efforts – were well on our way to reaching 150 volunteers – and thus needed to add another staff person.

Raising enough funds to sustain a salary is no small feat. Large grants to support salaries are very difficult to obtain. It is hard to increase your staff size when funding is here today, but there is no guarantee for next year. We spend a great deal of time soliciting grants, donations, and corporate gifts trying to add resources and services we can offer the kids we serve. The government funded grants we get are tremendously competitive and have not been increased in years – we are always fighting to maintain what we have. And in my 3.5 years on staff at CASA, I have never had the luxury of being able to ask for enough additional funding to add a staff person from any of our government grant sources.

In 2021, Mike and Sara Dent changed that challenge for us with the idea to create a golf tournament for CASA. Not just any golf tournament – but one that has quickly become one of the top benefit tournaments in Texas thanks to their passion for having fun and success in everything thing that they do. Thanks to their drive to grow this event and support CASA – this event has single handedly provided the funding that allowed us to add a new staff position last year.

More staff = more volunteers recruited = more kids served. It’s as simple as that. But even more important to me is the friendship and relationship that I have been fortunate to build as they have grown their support for CASA. They are not just donors – they have invested their passion into our program and inspired others to do the same. With their help – we have added new volunteers each year from the golf event. People who learn about CASA and want to make a difference because of Mike and Sara’s passion for CASA. With their help, we have been able to recognize our advocates for their work. They donate gift cards to their restaurant, they cater dinner events to honor volunteers, and they provide the food for our 2nd largest fundraiser each fall. They do this because of their hearts and their will to help change lives of kids in need. Mike’s personal story as a child is an incredible journey to listen to and just naturally inspires others to want to make a difference.  

I could go on and on about the impact that the Dent’s have made on our program. In my short tenure with CASA, they have been the most influential people on my heart and my willingness to keep finding other ways to build the resources we need to serve more kids. Our program has been very fortunate over the years to enjoy great leadership from people like Yveta Phillips, Bette Robinson, Lee Ann Deal, and others who have invested time, energy, and support to make us successful. But Mike and Sara Dent are in a very exclusive club when it comes to creating a vision and inspiring others that provides us with the ability to serve more children.

Thank you to the Dent’s for having the heart to change lives and make the world a better place for children put in traumatic circumstances. I love you dearly for the blessings you provide to others and the friendship you have shared with me over the past 4 years.