Category Archives: Newsletter | July 2019

Celebrating 15 Years with CASA

CASA staff circa 2006.

Shelley joined CASA of Northwest Arkansas as a Volunteer Coordinator (the position we now call Advocate Supervisor) after leaving DHS in 2004. At that time, our organization had just 5 employees (two of whom were part time) and was serving 253 children. Needless to say, the “other duties as assigned” portion of her job description was regularly tested.

But, she hung in there. And, we are so glad she did. Thanks to a grant from National CASA, the Program Director position was created in 2009, and to Executive Director Crystal Vickmark, Shelley was a natural fit. As Program Director, Shelley oversees all Advocate Supervisors and training, acts as a liaison to DHS and other agencies, coordinates CASA’s Christmas for a Child, and supervises 15 volunteers.

Shelley believes the best part of her job is working with her amazing advocates. “I have been working with some of them for so long they are like family to me. They have seen my children grow up. I really enjoy getting to have a personal relationship with them. After all, we are in the trenches together.”

Her advocates share in their admiration of her. Eighteen year CASA veteran, Margot Martin said “I cannot adequately say how great these past 15 years working with Shelley have been. She is ALWAYS immediately responsive to every need, inquiry, plea for help and support throughout each case.” CASA Morgan Hill agreed, “Shelley is always the first person I turn to when I feel stuck or need to debrief my cases. She is also a CASA’s biggest cheerleader, which always makes me feel supported and uplifted, even when I’m feeling the weight of the system and the challenges these families face.

Shelley with some fellow staff members at Celebration of Success 2019.

Shelley’s commitment to CASA and the children we serve has played a huge part in our growth over the years. She is an integral part of our success, our impact, and our community. We are so lucky to have her.

Please join us in thanking Shelley for 15 years of dedication and commitment.

2019 Graduates Ready for the Future

In just a few weeks, six of our teens in foster care will start anew. They will head across town and as far away as Utah (!) to continue their education beyond high school. These kids have overcome so many barriers to achieve what they have so far. They will begin college or technical school to pursue careers in nursing, criminology, and industrial maintenance, to name a few. And, we couldn’t be prouder!

This has been a tremendous year for many of our teens! In total, fifteen of our young people graduated high school or earned their GED this spring. Talk about beating the odds! We are proud that CASA could play a role in any of their success. One of our graduates shared, “My CASAs have helped a lot. They are very supportive in many ways. Maybe most importantly, they have provided emotional support which encourages me to reach my goals.”

Truly, only as far as they dream can they be. We want them to dream BIG!  Please keep all of our young people in your thoughts and prayers as they embark on the next phase of their journey.

If you wish to send encouraging words to our new graduates, please send an email here!

A special thanks to our donors who specifically support our older youth in their grant-making: United Way of Northwest Arkansas, Taco Bell Foundation, Fayetteville Junior Civic League, Ticket to Dream Foundation, Arkansas Cox Charities, and the Brighter Futures Fund.