September 2013 Newsletter
Nels Hinderlie – CASA Volunteer Highlight – Eagle County
What made you decide to become a volunteer with CASA?
For several years, I was seeking a program or cause where I could use my interests and experience of working with families and children in our area. A friend of mine who was a CASA suggested the program and I attended the training in 2009 and found it was the right fit.
How long have you been a volunteer with CASA and what has that looked like?
I was sworn in as a CASA in November 2009. I have learned a lot along the way. At the outset, it was tough to know my place, but over time I began to realize that my advocacy for the children involved in each case was highly respected by the judges.
Why would you encourage others to become CASA volunteers?
I have found it gratifying to know that my involvement makes a difference in people’s lives. Also, it’s rewarding to be part of the team of people who pool their talents and resources to help children and families in need.
What is the most impactful part this volunteer experience?
We play an integral role in the entire process and really get to know all those involved with the case. Thanks to being in the midst of it all, we gain a greater perspective and really get to know the kids and parents on a different level than others on the case.
How do you spend your time aside from CASA?
I am the owner of Clearview Window Cleaning and during the winter I work as a supervisor in the Beaver Creek Children’s Ski & Snowboard School. I love the mountain environment and enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, golf and ice hockey.
For more information on how to get involved with CASA of the Continental Divide, go to mtncasa.org or call 970-513-9390.
Many Cases Need CASA’s
In the CASA office, we seem to be collecting cases that don’t have CASAs. Please review the list below and let us know if you want more information about a case or whether you are ready to stand up and advocate for these children. There are seven cases that currently need CASAs.
In Clear Creek:
- Existing case with three boys ages 11 and 9. Previous CASA recently moved from the area.
- Existing case with one girl age 9 and one boy age 5
- New case with two boys age 5 years and 10 months
- New case with two girls age 3 1/2 years and 22 months
- New case with one girl age 3
- New case with one infant age 1 month
- New case with one boy age 14
New Optima Web Based Database for CASACD
The CASACD office is changing over to a new way of tracking cases, kids, volunteers, and other data. It is Optima, a web-based program that was designed by a company cofounded by a former CASA director, Robert Hahn, and the program is specifically designed to meet the needs of CASA work. The web-based aspect means that CASAs and supervisors can log on anywhere on their own desktop, laptop, iPad, or even a smart phone. So whenever you have Internet access, you can enter notes, put in mileage and time as you make case contacts, update changes you find out about such as new addresses or caseworker changes, etc.
The downside for CASAs is the initial training required, which you have already heard about (and plan on attending Saturday, we hope!). The upside is much greater, though. No more monthly reports! Court reports are done by filling in a few fields with new information, and the rest will be automatically formatted and generated.
This will save everyone time and effort, and will allow CASAs to spend more time with the CASA kids and less doing paperwork.
The training on Sept. 7 is short notice, but the new program will be implemented starting Sept. 23, so time to get up to speed is limited. And our training will be led by Robert Hahn who cofounded the company! What a great opportunity!
If you have any questions about Optima, the webinars before the training, or the training itself, please call or email the CASA office.
Needed: Technology Mentors
With the new switch to Optima requiring more technology use, we know we have CASAs who are less comfortable with technology and are likely very hesitant with this change. We don’t want to lose experienced CASAs. So to support them, we are hoping to have some technology mentors, people who are comfortable with technology and the Optima program and who would be willing to sit with others a few times to help them practice entering their data into Optima.
If you are able to help people with this transition to using Optima after the training, call or email the CASA office and we will pair you up with someone who needs some support.
Volunteer Training and Resources
- CASA Volunteer Optima training (mandatory) – Sept. 7, 9-11am, 1-3pm, 5-7pm, Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco, 83 Nancy’s Place, off Peak One Blvd., near the Frisco Recycling Center. Register at Eventbrite.com. If you have your own laptop, iPad, smart phone, etc., bring it with you!
- Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Adolescents training – Sept. 9, 9am-noon, Founder’s Room at Mile High United Way, 2505 18th St., Denver. $50. To register, click here.
- At-Risk Youth training – Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6-9pm, Family Tree’s Administrative Office – 3805 Marshall Street, Wheat Ridge, CO. $15. Register by clicking here. Child Abuse and Neglect and Runaway and Throwaway Youth.
- Informed Supervision training (Click here for invitation flyer) – Tuesday, Sept. 17, 9 to noon, Dillon Community Church. For CASAs with cases with child sexual offenders. Register: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Victims’ Rights Act training – Thursday, Sept. 19, 10:30-noon, COVA, 90 Galapago St., Denver. To register, email email@example.com.
- Breckenridge Festival of Film 2013 highlighting child abuse and domestic violence. Special screening of “Pursuit of Truth,” “No One Knows,” and “The Children Next Door” at 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Village in Breckenridge, followed by a panel discussion including CASACD Executive Directory Kathy Reed. Click here for flyer or to go to www.breckfilmfest.com.
Dillon – Wednesday, Sept. 4, 5 to 7pm and Thursday, Sept. 26, 10am to 12pm, both held at the CASA office, Room 101.
Avon Library – Thursday, Sept. 12, 10am to 12pm, and Wednesday, Sept. 25, 5 to 7 p.m.
Carol (Interim Hannah):
Dillon – Friday, Sept. 20, 3 to 5pm held at the CASA office, Room 101
Leadville – Sept. 20 from 3 to 5pm and by appointment
If you need access to commonly used CASA forms or templates, use our public file for CASA.