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HER PARENTS WERE CAUGHT IN A CYCLE OF ADDICTION

Jessica was just 10 months old when Child Protective Services got involved in her life. Her parents were frequent meth users, and a neighbor reported them to CPS because of concerns they neglected their daughter after the neighbor witnessed a fight between her parents. Since Jessica's parents were such prolific drug users, they couldn't or wouldn't care for Jessica. CPS removed Jessica from the home and placed her in a separate home with her grandmother.

 

Suzy was appointed as Jessica's CASA volunteer. When Suzy met the parents, she learned Jessica's mother had a history of drug use dating back to her teen years. Jessica's father had a record that included drug offenses and petty crime. They spent their lives in a drug-addicted haze. For Jessica, this meant uncertainty and the ever present chance of some dangerous accident brought about by the presence of drugs at home.

 

Suzy was in frequent contact with the mother and encouraged her to complete her court-ordered services, including a substance abuse program, and to go the extra mile to show she was ready to be a parent. Because of Suzy, Jessica's mother sought out additional counseling, completed community service and found a church where she would receive support. Jessica's father, who at first was incarcerated on a drug charge, began working on a plan designed to help him show he could care for his daughter upon his release. Though he was a few months behind Jessica's mother, he quickly demonstrated his commitment to his daughter. This family showed a resilience and dedication to overcoming their addictions as well as a willingness to accept responsibility for their actions and to seek help. Suzy's advocacy along the way encouraged them while also providing opportunities for Jessica to see her parents, which Suzy knew was in Jessica's best interest. For example, Suzy requested that Jessica be able to attend a Halloween party so her mother could take her trick or treating. The attorney for the child agreed as long as CASA was there to monitor the situation.

 

With support from their family and those involved in Jessica's case, her parents completed their court-ordered plan, secured jobs and found a safe place to live. Along the way, they also got involved in a 12-step recovery program and volunteered at a soup kitchen, serving food to the homeless. In addition, this young couple decided to get married. Because of their commitment to getting their lives together, this mom and dad were reunited with their daughter. Jessica's grandmother lives close by and loves to visit often. Finally, life is normal for Jessica and her parents.

 

This fall, Jessica's father will speak at the Texas CASA conference on a discussion panel focusing on fathers who have been reunited with their children. Both Jessica's parents are committed to giving back to their community now that they have received a second chance. This spring, Jessica's family welcomed a new baby sister into the world. One of the first people to learn about the growing family was Jessica's CASA volunteer Suzy. 

FORMER CASA YOUTH SWORN IN AS CASA VOLUNTEER
Former CASA youth Amanda Newell was sworn in as a CASA volunteer June 29 by Judge George West.

Former CASA youth Amanda Newell, who with her sister Rozy was adopted 12 years ago this month, became a sworn CASA volunteer on June 29. This is the first time in the history of the Dallas CASA volunteer program that a former CASA child has decided to become a CASA volunteer.

 

Along with 40 other new volunteer trainees, Amanda raised her right hand and repeated the CASA oath before Juvenile Court Judge George West. Incidentally, West presides over the same court in which Amanda and her sister were adopted in July 2000.

 

Amanda shared her story with Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd who wrote about Amanda's experience in an effort to recognize the work of CASA volunteers and the potential successes of children who have lived in foster care. Jacquielynn has written frequently that foster youth need more help to become successful, and that these children aren't lost.

 

As a CASA volunteer, Amanda will help create better endings for foster youth by standing up for them in court. A recent graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in psychology, she hopes to become a counselor. She believes her story will help her CASA kids to see that even when things seem bleak, "there is always hope."

 

Jacquielynn published Amanda's story in the July 4 Dallas Morning News. Click here to read the column on dallascasa.org. If you would like to thank Jacquielynn for her work on behalf of abused children and for helping spread the word about CASA, email her at jfloyd@dallasnews.com.

SAVE THE DATE! NORTH TEXAS GIVING DAY IS SEPTEMBER 13

North Texas Giving Day 2012 

The North Texas community will come together to help support area non-profits through Donor Bridge Giving Day on Sept. 13. The Communities Foundation of Texas, a generous and innovative organization that partners individuals with the nonprofits that capture their hearts, has raised more than $1 million in matching funds and cash prizes for area non-profits to encourage North Texans to "get up and give."

 

Last year, the one-day North Texas Giving Day event raised more than $10.7 million for more than 600 area nonprofit agencies. Dallas CASA friends together gave $139,045, and this year, we hope to surpass last year's giving total for this one-day event.     

 

With the whole region participating, North Texas Giving Day event serves as an example of how our community can work together. On this one day, North Texas will focus on giving. Don't miss it! Bookmark DonorBridgeTX.org and mark your calendar to log on and make your gift on Sept. 13.  

PARADE OF PLAYHOUSES COMES TO NORTHPARK AUG. 3
POP Logo - NEW

The 2012 Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark Center, presented by the ORIX Foundation, kicks off Aug. 3 and will feature 17 imaginative children's playhouses available for raffle to benefit Dallas CASA. Dallas CASA is an organization of volunteers who are voices for abused and neglected children in court. Parade of Playhouses, which runs Aug. 3-19, raises funds to support the work of Dallas CASA volunteers.

 

This year's playhouses will include a maritime lighthouse, an urban chicken coop which will come with an art piece by a local artist, an airplane hangar and even a baseball dugout complete with memorabilia graciously contributed by the Texas Rangers organization.

 

Visitors to NorthPark will have the chance to purchase raffle tickets to win one of the creative and fun houses designed and constructed by local architects, designers, corporations and organizations. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and may be purchased at the event ticket tables at NorthPark.

 

If you can't make it to NorthPark, you can purchase raffle tickets online at dallascasa.org. One very special playhouse will be auctioned online to raise additional funds. For information about the auction house and how to bid for your chance to win, visit dallascasa.org. The drawing to announce the playhouse winners will take place during the closing ceremony at NorthPark at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19. Winners do not need to be present to win.

 

Playhouses will be created and donated by Ambit Energy; Bob Borson and Buford Builders; Bogdan Tomalevski and Tarek Abdel Ghaffar; Butscher Construction; Peter Christensen; Dallas CASA Children's Council; Guardian Exteriors; Audrey Maxwell; Les Owens; Jonathan Powell and Lily Barboza; Scott Armstrong; Sewell with Spring Valley Construction Company; Southwest Airlines; Scott Taylor and Howard Gorman; Veranda Fine Homes; Winstead PC with Erin Parisi; and Whitney Ford.    

 

Dallas CASA is grateful to the following sponsors for their support.  

 

Presenting-ORIX Foundation; Palace--Bernbaum Magadini, Jim and Angela Thompson Foundation; Castle--Kimberly-Clark Corporation, NorthPark Center; Mansion--Tracy and Clay Aaron; Ricoh USA Inc,Kappa Alpha Theta Dallas Alumnae Chapter; Chateau--AIA, The Home Depot, Kona Grill, Life of an Architect, Park Cities People, Southwest Airlines; Villa--Glazer's Distributors, Guardian Exteriors, TD Industries.  

 

Special thanks to: KVIL 103.7 Lite FM, Adventures in Advertising, Heritage Auctions, La Duni NorthPark and TycherStein. Thank you to Northwood Woman's Club for coordinating event volunteers.

 

Please stop by the ticket tables at NorthPark or visit dallascasa.org to purchase raffle tickets.

IN THIS ISSUE
Her Parents Were Caught In A Cycle of Addiction
Former CASA Youth Sworn in as CASA Volunteer
Save the Date! North Texas Giving Day Is Sept. 13
Parade of Playhouses Comes to NorthPark Aug. 3
Back-to-School Needs
BACK-TO-SCHOOL NEEDS

The average cost for back-to-school supplies for an elementary student can range from $25 to $50, depending on whether the child needs a backpack and a uniform as well. Dallas CASA is accepting donations of $25 Wal-mart and Target gift cards to help with the cost of school supplies and uniforms for abused and neglected children in Dallas. To donate gift cards, contact Greer Kinsey at gkinsey@dallascasa.org.  

VOLUNTEER TIP

Need a fun, free activity for your next visit with your CASA child? The 2012 Parade of Playhouses, presented by ORIX Foundation and hosted by NorthPark Center, kicks off Aug. 3 and runs through Aug. 19. Kids are welcome...don't miss it! Click here for details. 

VOLUNTEER HOURS

15,500 volunteer hours advocating for children in court so far this year!  

About Dallas CASA

When kids can't speak for themselves, CASA can.  

Dallas CASA is a nonprofit organization of community volunteers who serve as voices in court for abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers are trained and supervised to advocate for the best interests of abused children in protective care and to make recommendations that help judges decide what is best for each child. A CASA volunteer is often the one constant during a frightening, uncertain time in a child's life.

Sadly, less than half of the children who need a CASA volunteer have one. You can help. A child is waiting for your voice.
 
To learn more about helping abused children, visit dallascasa.org.

CASA and Court Appointed Special Advocates are registered trademarks of the National CASA Association.