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At age four, Emma could barely hold a crayon. Her parents were heavily addicted to meth---to the point of using their drugs in front of their daughter. Their addictions absorbed all their attention, and Emma frequently was ignored and neglected. Tragically, she also was molested. CPS placed Emma in foster care and Robin was appointed as her CASA volunteer.


Fortunately, Emma's mother saw CPS' involvement in her life as a wake-up call. Emma's mother checked herself into rehab and pursued the services offered by the court to help her get her life back on track. Robin, as Emma's advocate, developed a positive relationship with the mother and saw that this mother loved her little girl and that they were clearly close. Robin made sure that Emma received counseling to recover from past abuse and developmental therapy to catch up with other children her age.


A year later and given a second chance, Emma's mother had left her drug-addicted lifestyle behind and proven her daughter was the most important thing in her life. Today, the little girl who could barely hold a crayon is thriving in an advanced kindergarten program and living safely and happily with her mother. Robin continues to be a part of their lives.

Click the image above to watch.
Dallas CASA: Changing Lives, Inspiring Hearts

Donald and Karla, along with their CASA advocates, took part in a video presentation designed to give supporters of Dallas CASA a look at how a CASA volunteer can impact a child's life.

Donald shared his story of watching in fear as his mother was killed and how his CASA advocate Ron helped him overcome his anger and work through his grief. Donald is now working toward becoming a physical therapist and continues to keep in touch with Ron.

Karla explained how a teacher called Child Protective Services when she came to school wearing dark sunglasses and heavy makeup to cover the bruises her stepfather gave her. Through tears, Karla and her advocate, Annette, explain how they are heroes for each other. Today, Karla is working toward her bachelor's degree in criminal justice. 


Click the image above or visit the Dallas CASA YouTube page to watch the video. 

CASA volunteer Linda Swartz (center, in blue) with her family at the Champion of Children Award Dinner. 

Linda Swartz was a volunteer at a temporary shelter for foster youth when she heard about Dallas CASA. Once a week, she cooked meals for the children passing through or rocked children to sleep their first night away from home. Rewarding as it was, she wanted to do more. She wanted to see a child through the system.


"I'd go one week and could rock a baby to sleep, but the next week when I went back, that child was gone," she said. "I wanted to find a way to be more involved in the life of one child at a time."


A friend told her about CASA and the role of a CASA volunteer in a child's life. Five years later, Linda has seen six children through the foster care system and into permanent, loving homes. For Linda, the role of CASA volunteer is highly personal because she herself went through the foster care system in the 1970s before CASA was founded.


"When I was a kid, I didn't have anybody there for me---just a constant flow of strangers," she said. "Back then, there wasn't an advanced child welfare system like we have today, imperfect as it is. People just brushed this stuff under the rug, and there were no CASA programs to make sure every child had someone there just for them."


In addition to her role as an advocate, Linda also volunteers in other ways. She is a member of the Dallas CASA Children's Council and will serve as president in 2013. She also serves as co-chair of National Adoption Day and was underwriting chair for the Champion of Children Award Dinner. Linda said her advocacy for children lends itself easily to raising support for Dallas CASA because she believes so strongly in the CASA cause. As underwriting chair for the Champion of Children event, Linda helped the committee raise an astounding $450,000 in sponsorships and underwriting. 


"Once people hear the cause, they love to give whatever they can," she said. "And since I'm a volunteer, it's even more meaningful to have another way to help. Every dollar raised means the chance to help more children find safe, loving homes."


In every way, Linda's compassion for her CASA kids and her enthusiasm for helping children exemplify the work of an extraordinary volunteer. 

Dallas CASA Executive Director Beverly Levy, Program Director Mary Timmons and Sherri Gideon, CASA of Denton County. 

Dallas CASA Program Director Mary Timmons was named the recipient of the 2012 Mary Kay Go Give Award at the Texas CASA Conference Oct. 27.  

After more than 20 years serving as a leader of Dallas CASA, Mary has been known to humorously describe herself as "cat herder," but she has played a critical role in building a community of trust and commitment. Her constant focus has been helping children through the work of volunteer advocates.    


One of Mary's most valuable contributions to the lives of our children is the way she collaborates with others in the child welfare system to ensure our volunteers can do their jobs effectively. More importantly, children's lives are better because of Mary's compassion and heart. She encourages all of us every day, no matter what the challenge. 


With Mary's leadership, Dallas CASA has experienced exhilarating change. In 2005, the Dallas CASA Board of Directors moved the agency toward focusing on intervening earlier in the lives of abused children. Mary's guidance proved critical in doubling the number of children served since 2005 while maintaining the high quality of service to children that has always been a Dallas CASA tradition. 


To the people she leads, Mary is more than a supervisor. She is a champion for children's rights. Congratulations Mary!

She Needed Somone Who Would Make Sure She Was Safe
Two Former CASA Youth Share Their Stories
Those Who Help: Volunteer Linda Swartz
Program Director Mary Timmons Honored With State Award

23,911 volunteer hours advocating for children in court so far this year! 


CASA volunteers learn that their advocacy for the children they serve varies with each case and each child. In many cases, helping a child overcome an educational hurdle is one of the most critical steps to providing children with the chance to have a better future. Click here to learn more about educational advocacy from National CASA. 

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, Dallas CASA can only serve two out of five children who need CASA volunteers. You can help. A child is waiting for your voice.
To learn more about helping abused children, visit

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