Advocate News


03.30.2015

Posted in:

New Volunteer Training - Child Abuse Awareness

Dear CASA Advocates,

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and encourage individuals and communities to support children and families. April is a significant month for CASA in many ways. April 5-11 is National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Be sure to read below for more information on local events. Most importantly, April 12-18 is also Volunteer Appreciation Week. Last fiscal year our agency had 500 Amazing CASA Volunteers who provided services, resources and a voice to 1,656 children in our community.  CASA would like to thank each and every CASA volunteer for your hard work and commitment to the children in our community who otherwise may not have a voice.  You are invaluable to this organization and all the hours that you spend serving the children are truly appreciated. We would like to thank you by honoring each of you at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon to be held on April 28from 11:30 am to 1 pm at The Plaza Club, 100 W. Houston. Please RSVP to the CASA office for this event. I look forward to seeing you there!

Yolanda Valenzuela, CASA Vice President of Program and Operations

 

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month – a reminder to all of us of how essential it is to spread awareness about child abuse in our community.  As CASA volunteers, we are passionate about serving these children by advocating for their needs in court.  We know firsthand that the work we do as volunteers is powerful and impactful for the children we serve, but also for our community.  But too often, when sharing about your volunteer experience, others respond by dismissing it as too hard or too emotional.  Child abuse is undoubtedly an ominous subject, an overwhelming topic, leaving many with the thought that they can do nothing to fix this societal problem.  When people respond to me with that concern, I think about how it is frightening and overwhelming to consider as an adult.  Yet, imagine what it must feel like to a child who is living it. Should we leave them to feel that fear on their own, or do we stand by them, lend them our voice, and speak out for them?

That’s exactly what we do as CASA volunteers – we stand up for these children to fight this epidemic of child abuse. Unfortunately, as child abuse continues to occur, the need for volunteers continues to grow.  We need to spread awareness about not only the problem of child abuse, but how the community can work together to stand up for our children.   

One of the most effective ways to raise awareness about CASA in the community is through good, old-fashioned “word of mouth.”  Civic groups and other member-based organizations (e.g., churches, alumni groups, fraternities/sororities, etc.) within our community that have monthly meetings are ideal opportunities to raise awareness.  If you belong to one such organization, invite CASA to present – what better time than Child Abuse Awareness Month to spread the word about CASA?  Many of our volunteers also utilize church bulletins and neighborhood or employer newsletters to spread the word about CASA – just let us know if you would like us to write an article for yours! You can also utilize social media to spread awareness.  “Like” CASA on facebook and get involved!  Tag yourself in photos, tag us in a post if you’re at one of our events, and share our posts with your friends.  Follow us on twitter and retweeet our tweets.  And on LinkedIn, add CASA to the volunteering section of your profile.  Sharing the CASA mission online is an important way to spread the word to your friends and family.

Thank you for lending your voice and giving your time to a child who is often alone and afraid.  You give these children hope by your advocacy.  Thank you for choosing to be the difference in a child’s life. 

 

National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 5-11, provides awareness of victims' rights. Join us at one or more of these events to secure fairness, dignity, and respect for all crime victims.

 

April 5 from 12-7pm Victim Call-In Hotline

Victims of crime may call (210) 351-1363 - KSAT TV - from 12 to 7pm for information concerning the criminal justice system and referrals for crime victim services.

April 7 at 10 am

Proclamation of National Crime Victims' Rights Week at Bexar County Courthouse

The public, crime victims, and victim service organizations are invited to attend the Commissioner's Court meeting during which National Crime Victims' Rights Week will be proclaimed as we know the children on our cases are also victims. The proclamation will be held at the Bexar County Courthouse, Commissioner's Courtroom.

April 9 at 10 am

Victims' Tribute outside the Bexar County courthouse-North steps

The public, crime victims and victim service organizations are invited to attend a special service dedicated to victims of crime which include a memorial wreath blessing and laying ceremony and lighting of our victims’ flame, and dove release.  The event will be held at the Bexar County Courthouse, 100 Dolorosa.  Ten child victims died last year in Bexar County as a result of severe child abuse and neglect. Please attend and help us to honor their legacy.

April 10 from 11:30-2 pm

Children's Picnic at Milam Park (501 W. Commerce St.)

A picnic honoring child victims of crime will be held in Milam Park on April 10. Everyone is invited to join the festivities, which will include games, clowns, face painting, pony rides, petting zoo, a visit from the Spurs Coyote, McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog, BACA, and others.  Lunch and many other snacks will be served free of charge for all attendees.  For more information, please call (210) 335- 2733.

April 10

GO BLUE DAY

Join in on a day across Texas dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect. On this day, we ask that you wear blue clothing and/or a blue ribbon to show your support for children in need. You can also show your support by hanging a blue ribbon at your home or local businesses.


Story of the Blue Ribbon

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Texas and across the nation. It is a time to focus on ways not only to protect children from abusive environments, but most importantly, to prevent abuse from ever occurring. Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect exists in our state at an alarming rate, and it will not go away by simply ignoring it. It's up to each of us to arm ourselves with the facts, to learn the warning signs, and to watch out for our most innocent Texans. Each of us can prevent the children around us from becoming another heartbreaking statistic.

Story of the Blue Ribbon...

The Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Prevention Campaign had its early beginnings following the death of a very young child.   In the spring of 1989 Bonnie Finney, a Virginia grandmother, received the devastating news that her beloved grandson had been killed due to injuries inflicted by his own parents. In an expression of grief and outrage, Bonnie did something that ever since has given us a symbol to rally for the cause of child abuse prevention. Bonnie tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van as a way to remember "the bruised and battered body" of her grandson. Her desire was to alert the community to the tragedy of child abuse. In Bonnie's own words, "The ribbon serves as a constant reminder to fight for protection of our children." During the month of April, please wear a blue ribbon. Put one on your car. Give one to your friends and tell them what it means.  You may save a child's life.

Soon after Bonnie displayed her blue ribbon, her simple idea was picked up by grassroots organizations across the country. The act of one person thousands of miles away has brought us to where we are today. Just imagine what would happen if each person in San Antonio helped to spread the word to just one person during the month of April. The awareness that would follow just might be enough to move us toward the day when our homes and communities are completely safe for children. During April, CASA asks that you wear a blue ribbon to show your support of child abuse prevent

New Volunteer Training - Child Abuse Awareness