IMPACT E-News May 2013
I M P A C T E-News from CASA of Arizona
Inclusion Mutual respect Professional development Accountability Collaboration Transparency
CASA of Arizona's information for statewide CASA staff, volunteers and supporters who share the vision of an advocate in court for every abused and neglected child in need of a safe, permanent home.
CASA State Office Update
A roundup of important news and information from CASA of Arizona
CASA Manager News
The last few months have been busy for CASA of Arizona with much of our effort focused on strengthening and improving training opportunities for CASA staff as well as new CASA volunteers. In February and again in May, the CASA state office scheduled staff development events for all CASA Coordinators, Program Managers and Support Staff. The staff development included training on Emotional Intelligence to helps us look at how we manage our emotions, showed us the biology of how the brain processes emotions, and, how we can strengthen communications in the work we do both professionally and personally. In addition, the staff development agenda included a piece on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, a book by Patrick Lencioni which addresses the five areas that any team should look at to keep a strong performing team. CASA staff also engaged in a fun activity about what has worked for CASA and what needs strengthening-information that CASA of Arizona will consider in setting direction and priorities for the program.
Events like the Child Abuse Prevention Campaign which happened in April also kept us busy statewide with media involvement and program activities, and continuing in our diversity efforts, CASA of Arizona launched the first of a series of articles in the Arizona Informant newspaper serving the African-American community, to inform about issues impacting children from their community and to engage them in solution based opportunities. The roll-out of a national curriculum entitled Knowing Who You Are (KWYA) occurred in May and is scheduled for statewide regions during the remainder of the year. The focus is in helping CASA advocates and others who work as partners, learn more about our own racial and ethnic identities and focus our efforts on addressing diversity and disparity issues in the children we serve through CASA.
We are excited to be visiting many of the county CASA programs and meeting staff we have met for the first time. We continue to be impressed with the quality of staff and CASA advocates we meet wherever we go and who carry the CASA mission forward. We hope you will help us engage others in this work and we hope you will have a safe and fun summer!
Leticia D'Amore, MSW
CASA State Manager
Exciting Changes Ahead for CASA Academy and Training
CASA of Arizona is continuously working to provide a relevant and valuable training academy, as well as additional trainings throughout the year. To maintain the highest quality trainings, we have made some changes to the current academy, which include the following:
* Opening presentation will be adjusted to 30 minutes
* The Values and Viewpoints activity will be moved to the first day
* Lunch will be shortened on day one by 15 minutes
* An Emotional Intelligence segment will be added to Day 2
* A Family Dynamics portion will be incorporated into the Trauma section
Additional new trainings throughout the year will include standalone segments instructed by Skip Pollock, Ph.D. on Demystifying Clinical Diagnosis and Emotional Intelligence.
CASA Focuses on Strategic Outreach in Diverse Communities
CASA of Arizona is working closely with the Arizona Lottery and their advertising firm E.B. Lane on a variety of focused outreach initiatives in the Latino community. During April's Child Abuse Prevention Month, CASA of Arizona Program Manager Leticia D'Amore and Hispanic Marketing, Community Relations and Public Relations partner for E.B. Lane Conchita Raices-Kollmann appeared on the Spanish radio program Mujeres Unicas and the Spanish television show Azteca America as well as a program on Univision. Also, a special CASA message was designed for the Latino community and the advertisements are appearing on television, resulting in increased volume of inquiries to the state office regarding CASA and foster parenting and adoption of Latino children. On April 27th, E.B. Lane invited Leticia D'Amore and her husband Tom D'Amore as guests to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Black and White Ball, which brought together prominant Latino business and community leaders from around the Valley. CASA of Arizona would like to thank the Arizona Lottery and E.B. Lane for their ongoing support of children in foster care and the CASA program.
|From Left: Christine Ray and husband Joe Ray, Vice President of Multicultural Marketing for E.B. Lane; Conchita Raices-Kollmann, Hispanic Marketing, Community Relations and Public Relations partner for E.B. Lane; Leticia D'Amore, CASA of Arizona Manager; and husband Tom D'Amore
Child Abuse Prevention Month Reaches Communities Statewide
To spread awareness and recruit volunteers, CASA of Arizona launched the "Advocate. Don't Wait." campaign in April for Child Abuse Prevention Month. The month-long campaign kicked off with an event on the steps of the Arizona Supreme Court building featuring speakers Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, Court of Appeals Judge Maurice Portley, CASA volunteer Steve Zimmerman and former CASA youth Kody Chancellor. The campaign also included a Web page bookmarks, recruitment cards, posters, e-mails and news coverage. The campaign efforts resulted in more than 70 inquiries to the CASA program from a diverse group of people from Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Mohave, Gila, Cochise, Yavapai and Navajo counties. These inquiries were in addition to the those that the program regularly receives. CASA of Arizona would like to thank all of the volunteers and staff who participated in this campaign to make it a success. View the event here
Updates from National, State, County and Local Programs.
CASA of Yuma County Attends Elvis Event
CASA of Yuma County volunteers and staff came out for a night of fun and music on March 8, 2013 for the Yuma Council for CASA's annual fundraising event "CASA Tribute to Elvis" held at the Yuma Civic Center. Visit the CASA of Yuma Facebook page to see more photos.
CASA of Pima County Attends Recognition Event
CASA of Pima County volunteers, staff and an attorney and case worker were all honored during the CASA Support Council for Pima County 2013 CASA Volunteer Recognition Luncheon held April 18, 2013 at Hacienda Del Sol.
CASA of La Paz County Holds 25th Anniversary Event
CASA of La Paz County held a special event to celebrate 25 years of service to the community. Lunch, refreshments and cake was served, and attendees also received goodie bags decorated with pictures drawn by children.
CASA of Cochise County Holds Volunteer Recognition Day
Article by Mary Blanchard, Cochise County CASA Volunteer
April 30th was our annual CASA Recognition Event. Judge Donna Beumler was the guest of honor. Joseph Conrad, Court Services/Special Projects Manager, was introduced to everyone. Emma Lee DeRosa, former CASA volunteer and currently on the CASA Council, Rod Rothrock, retired Sheriff and also a member of the CASA Council, as well as honored guests from the Sheriff's department were in attendance. Joan Hansen and Lissete Olivares did all the work to make this event happen.
CASA volunteers -- many with their families in attendance -- enjoyed the excellent Chinese dinner and the colorful cake. For entertainment, we each drew a question and told everyone what we would do if we were faced with that situation. My question was, "What three people would you invite to dinner if you could ask any three people, living or dead?" I chose Winston Churchill, Machiavelli, and King Henry V.
Judge Beumler swore in the new CASA volunteers, Penny Duvall, Tracy O'Blinsky, Krista Ochs, Jennifer Rein, Ginger Shreve, Juanita Adamson, Jessica Landress, and Lynn Vanderdasson.
Lissete was honored as Cochise County Employee of the year. Lynn Vanderdasson stood up and reminded all of us of all the wonderful things that Joan does. Our applause added to this tribute.
The CASA volunteer of the year with an active case and the CASA volunteer of the year who was active behind the scenes were announced. Abby Dodge was honored as the CASA of the year with an active case, and LuRue Troyer was honored as the CASA of the year who was active behind the scenes.
Our CASA Volunteer of the year who was active behind the scenes is LuRue Troyer. All of us know that she and Joan are responsible for our monthly newsletter. She and Joan dreamed up the idea of a CASA Newsletter over four years ago. LuRue volunteered to be responsible for proofing our articles, doing the layout, and putting the whole thing together. Joan was to check our articles for accuracy and appropriateness and to include informational articles on important topics each month. It was their dream that the newsletter would become a forum for us to share information, ideas, and experiences with each other.
LuRue also helps with work in the Bisbee office and takes care of things when Joan is gone. She is an invaluable help in the office. She and I once did a training together. Our presentation was about aged-out kids. She used colorful sea creatures to illustrate her visuals. It totally blew me away. Her technical expertise in creating visuals is amazing. She also is very up on all the latest in computer technology and has shared her knowledge of useful websites in several newsletters.
CASA Recognition Day is about us. It honors our efforts. It also brings us together. With our busy lives and all the work we do advocating for kids, we sometimes don't take time to connect with each other. It was wonderful to connect with so many fellow CASA volunteers on CASA Recognition Day. I encourage CASA volunteers to try to nurture this connection. Find another CASA volunteer or several CASA volunteers and get together every month and share ideas and experiences, and be a support group for each other. What we do can be extremely challenging, and every CASA volunteer should have at least one other CASA volunteer to lean on when things get really rough. We also have Joan and Lissete for advice, help, and moral support. Everyone needs support and a cheering section. CASA has this for you, and it will make you a better advocate if you reach out and find your support group.
Notes for National CASA
National CASA Launches "35 Faces" Campaign
National CASA has launched
the "35 Faces" campaign to celebrate the story of the CASA movement through the people who comprise it - the judges, volunteers, CASA program staff, supporters - and the young people whose lives have been touched by this caring community.
National CASA Partners with Smile for a Lifetime Foundation
A new partnership between National CASA and Smile for a Lifetime Foundation will provide
the opportunity for children in the CASA program to apply for orthodontic treatment scholarships.
Winter Policy Update
from National CASA Deputy CEO Carmela Welte
regarding the CASA/GAL Delegation on Capitol Hill, federal funding for the CASA program, the Violence Against Women Act, the Foster Care Education Bill and the Commission on Child Deaths Established.
Spotlight on amazing Staff, Volunteers and Supporters.
CASA of Cochise County staff member awarded "Employee of the Year"
By Cochise County Juvenile Court Services
Lisette Olivares, the Court Specialist for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, is a dedicated and committed asset in displaying the mission of the department and the CASA Program. Lissete joined the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in April 2009. Lissete continuously searches for opportunities to provide outstanding service and assistance to the CASA Program Manager and volunteers in the performance of their duties with an infectious smile.
After realizing the impact of increased budgetary constraints on the CASA program, Lissete took the initiative to learn the policies and procedures of the CASA program at a level above and beyond her duties ensuring the needs of the volunteers and the program were met. Lissete streamlined the process for screening and training prospective CASA applicants.
Lissete is not content with being an average employee. Her outstanding work ethic and attention to detail is greatly appreciated by the volunteers, Court staff, probation officers and the public.
Lissete is a true professional, always willing to assist others and the providing of service and assistance of the highest quality. Her dedication to all entities having contact with the CASA program demonstrates the pride and respect she has for herself, the CASA program and why she deserves recognition as the 2012 Employee of the Year.
Volunteer Spotlight: Howard Weiske
When FCRB volunteer Howard Weiske first heard a woman formerly in foster care speak about carrying her few possessions in a garbage bag, as she moved from placement to placement, he knew he needed to find a way to help.
Nearly five months later, Weiske's idea to help has evolved into a community effort that has provided high-quality customized bags to approximately 50 children in foster care in Mohave and La Paz counties. "I thought about the children who go back for home visits with their parents and I thought how nice it would be if they had something better to carry their things back, so they can have some self worth," Weiske said.
Weiske, a resident of Lake Havasu and an active member in his local community, reached out to pastors, business owners and sewing clubs to launch his effort. And it didn't take long before people responded.
Businesses donated fabric; sewing groups gathered to turn the fabric into bags; and CASA volunteers and CPS case managers helped distribute the final products directly to the children.
"It's amazing. They gave us 10 of each to start off with and in a matter of two weeks, they were gone," said Terra Standal, a CPS case manager who coordinates with Weiske to distribute the bags to children. "The children are very excited to have something of their own and when they first receive the bag it's empty, but by the time they are going home from a placement, it's definitely full."
Standal said the groups also sew blankets for children to bring them some comfort during removals. The blankets, like the bags, are customized with certain characters and colors for boys and girls. Each child can pick out one that he or she likes.
One of the special things about the bags, is that they each have a special image on the front that identifies the bag for the child. Images such as puppies, cats, teddy bears and butterflies provide a recognizable feature for a child to know which bag belongs to him or her -- even if the child is too young to read.
"Most of the bags are three cubic feet in volume," Weiske said. "This is about as large as some of the smaller children can handle."
Weiske said he's working to share his program with others statewide and hopes to continue providing bags to children.
"You can sit back and see what the benefit of this is, and hopefully it's all invisible," Weiske said. "It should be done with just the bag and the child."
For questions about the program or if you are interested in launching it in your community, call Howard Weisk at (928) 412-2130
Know an amazing volunteer? Let us know by e-mailing email@example.com!
Training & Resources
Friendly Reminders for CASA Programs
Statewide Mentoring Program Update
CASA of Arizona's Trainer Andrew Salcido will soon continue the previous work of the CASA Statewide Mentoring Program, which offers tools for veteran CASA volunteers to help mentor new CASA volunteers. The program will be an hour training that will contain a manual and a video.
Flex Learning Pilot Moves Forward
The Flex Learning Pilot program has been launched with Yuma and Pinal counties participating. The 5-week long pilot program will offer participants three hours of online training each week and three hours in person. In the end, the class will have met the training requirements to become CASA volunteers. Once the current pilot program is finished, the next step will be to gather data from the training and to solidify a date for a second pilot launch.
Customer Service Request Form
County CASA programs, please remember if you need assistance from state office staff, you must submit a Customer Service Request form by visiting casaofarizona.org and clicking the "programs" tab on the top right. If you forget your login and/or password, please contact Rand Rosenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friendly Reminders for CASA Volunteers
Girl Scouts Offer Free Summer Camp
The AZ Cactus-Pine Girl Scout Council is currently providing funds for foster children to attend camp. Girls must be residents of Maricopa County. CASA volunteers can submit a Summer Camp Registration Form and Campership Request Form to email@example.com for their campers. Campership requests can cover the session fee, $60 bus reservation (indicate bus stop on the registration form) and $12 Girl Scout Membership. There are still many camp sessions open for registration, however, it is recommended that you include at least one alternate choice on the form.
The sessions and the available spaces for camp may be viewed on the online calendar.
Steps to view the calendar:
1. Visit the Online Registration Page
2. Select the Camp Activities Menu (on left)
3. Click the name of a session
4. Click by Register Now or Check Capacity
5. Scroll down to view the spaces available (green) or waitlisted spaces (blue).
For questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Knowing Who You Are Training Launches in Phoenix
Court Improvement and CASA of Arizona have joined efforts and resources to schedule the first round of Knowing Who You Are Training for volunteers, staff and system partners. The effort began with a training in Phoenix May 13-14 for one-and-a-half days of curriculum exploring the issues of racial identity with an emphasis on knowing ourselves and the importance of helping children in care know themselves as well. The second training is scheduled for the southern region in Tucson June 20-21, and the third will be located in the northern region, but has not been scheduled yet. For questions on this training, contact CASA of Arizona Manager Leticia D'Amore at (602) 452-3583.
Updates, summaries and articles.
Meet La Paz County Superior Court Presiding Judge Samuel Vederman
La Paz County Superior Court Presiding Judge Samuel Vederman has only been on the bench since December 2012, but he is already working to improve case flow management for the court, making time to give back to his community, and helping to strengthen families during dependency cases.
Judge Vederman, a former prosecutor, private practice attorney and county attorney was appointed to his position by Governor Jan Brewer because of his strong legal background, managerial skills, integrity and evenhandedness.
Everything is different as a judge than a prosecutor," Judge Vederman said. "I'm the last line of decision-making on these cases and ultimately I have to decide what is best for these children. They are difficult decisions, because taking a child away from parents is very serious and requires a great deal of thought."
In La Paz County Superior Court, Judge Vederman is the only judge, so he hears a variety of cases, including dependency and delinquency cases.
"It's only a short time that I have worked with Judge Vederman, but it feels like he has been a part of our CASA family for years," said CASA of La Paz County Program Coordinator Sativa Castellucci.
"He jumped in with both feet, helping and learning. He wants to support our volunteers and the CASA program."
Judge Vederman also appreciates the work that Castellucci does for the CASA of La Paz County program.
"I couldn't do it without her," he said. "She is phenomenal with getting everything done and the CASA volunteers do a fantastic job of keeping me informed on cases."
Recently, Judge Vederman participated in his community's annual "Youth Day" where local high school youth come out and take on a specific job for a morning. One teen took on Judge Vederman's role and held a mock swearing in of new public officials, who were represented by other high school students. When he was the county attorney, Judge Vederman played a key role in creating the Substance Abuse/Drug Court program in La Paz County, where he collaborated with the Adult Probation Department and the Clerk of the Superior Court. Today, one of his areas of focus is improving case flow management.
"Victims want resolution; dependency cases shouldn't drag on; juveniles in delinquency cases need swift and certain decision making if they've done something wrong," Judge Vederman said. "If youth are delinquent, then they need to have the consequences in a reasonable amount of time to take corrective action to hopefully help them in the future."
Judge Vederman also believes in helping families become stronger through his work in dependency cases.
"The children are most important, but whatever we can do to help parents become better parents and responsible parents, we need to be doing as well," he said. "Since I've been here, I've tried to do as much as I can to make sure the parents have had the best opportunity to get their children back, if it can be done."
He added, "I would not hesitate to sever or terminate the rights of a parent though, because the child's safety is paramount."
When he's not on the bench, Judge Vederman stays involved with community service projects with the Rotary Club. Recently, the club spent a day outside cleaning a highway. Judge Vederman volunteers with La Paz County's yearly off-road races and helps raise scholarships for high school students. He is also a bicycle rider who enjoys the outdoors.
National CASA Webinar Library
Did you know? The National CASA training department regularly hosts webinars to introduce new training materials and resources. Find out more here
Staff Training To Include The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
As CASA of Arizona works to train staff on Emotional Intelligence, information from the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team will also be included. The business book, written by Patrick Lencioni outlines five standard dysfunctions of a team. They include absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results. Learn more about the book
County Highlights & Happenings! CHECK OUT each County's website for the most up-to-date information! CLICK HERE to select a County Website, then click on News & Events.
Stories from county programs.
Child Abuse Prevention Month Kickoff Event Photos
Event held April 3, 2013 at Arizona Supreme Court
A crowd holding images of children gathers on the steps of the Arizona Supreme Court building. Pictured in front sitting (from left) is Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, Court of Appeals Judge Maurice Portley and CASA of Maricopa County volunteer Steve Zimmerman.
Former foster youth and CASA child Kody Chancellor shares his experiences as a child in the foster care system with event attendees during the event.
Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch speaks about the CASA program and the urgent need for CASA volunteers in Arizona. The Chief Justice also issued a call to action to the public encouraging people to become CASA volunteers.
CASA of Arizona Wants to Hear From You!
The State Office would like to know what you think! Click the DROP BOX and share your thoughts about the CASA program. You can remain anonymous, or you can give us your information so we may contact you to find out more or to simply say "thank you!" We look forward to hearing from you!
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CASA of Arizona
In This Issue
- CASA Programs Attend Events
- National CASA News
- CASA Volunteer & Staff Spotlight
- CASA Staff Member "Employee of the Year"
- Free Summer Camp and Training Opportunities
- Meet La Paz County Presiding Judge Samuel Vederman
Did your program, staff or volunteers do something great?
Let us know here
CASA of Arizona