CASA Blog

29 Mar

Cultural Competence and the Cycle of Socialization

On the wall of the CASA of Yellowstone County training room are several posters reminding us that Court Appointed Special Advocates need to exercise cultural competence. Two of those posters read: Ethnic and cultural background influences an individual’s attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors. Each family’s characteristics reflect adaptation to its primary culture and the majority culture, the family’s unique environment and the composite of the...

04 Mar

Two Months In

On February 28, our office received the initial court documents for DN 19-065. To most people, that string of letters and numbers would have little significance, but in fact it tells us a lot. The DN stands for Dependency & Neglect, which is the type of legal proceeding that pertains to children being removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. The 19 is probably the easiest to figure out, as it’s just the year that the case was...

19 Feb

Billings Proud

(via TripAdvisor) I know our system is far from perfect. I know our city is increasingly riddled with crime. I know the task ahead is unsurmountable if acting alone. I know if I focus on the negative, I will lose hope. It is all in how we choose to see it. As I have been out and about as a CASA seeking to make a small contribution to my community, I continually see a community of which I am proud to...

26 Nov

On the Eve of Giving Tuesday

via GivingTuesday.org Giving Tuesday – often stylized as #GivingTuesday on social media – is a worldwide event celebrated annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Started in New York City in 2012, Giving Tuesday is widely considered as a response to the rampant consumerism associated with the holiday season, especially following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It has since grown into an international day of charitable giving, with individuals, families, and businesses encouraged to extend their generosity toward nonprofits organizations and other...

21 Nov

A Peek Behind the Doors of Family Drug Court

Parents shuffle into Judge Gregory R. Todd’s courtroom in the Yellowstone County courthouse. They are the participants of Yellowstone County Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC), and they are in the midst of a long journey. Each of these parents has a child or children who have been removed from their care by Child & Family Services because of the parent’s drug or alcohol use. The parents have voluntarily been inducted into FDTC, which is a team-based, non-adversarial approach to building participants’...

Baseball
15 Nov

Being a CASA: A Man’s Perspective

In Yellowstone County there are 142 Court Appointed Special Advocates: 120 are women, 22 are men. Why are there so few men? It’s a question that comes up often. I decided to see what the answers might be, so I reached out to advocates from both genders for their insights. What I thought would be a fairly straightforward investigation has proven less so, however.  Asking the question of others has encouraged me to ask the question of myself. I began my...

01 Nov

Empathy – Trying on Another Person’s Shoes

via Relax and Succeed Our efforts as CASAs will be null and void if not tempered with empathy.  Empathy affects our connections on so many levels.  First and foremost, empathy is needed to connect with the children we represent.  Empathy does not fix the problem; empathy feels a connection to the problem.  Empathy is an action of vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of our little people…walking in their shoes. Secondly, demonstrating empathy towards the immediate family, extended family, and other key...

26 Oct

Volunteer Match!

via Giphy   Did you know that a number of employers – especially financial institutions – offer a what is often called a “volunteer match” program, where any volunteer time donated by an employee to an nonprofit organization can be matched by the company in dollars? For example, employees at First Interstate Bank are able to get their volunteer hours matched at $10 an hour, for up to $1000 per year. At that rate, all it takes to...

28 Sep

Birthdays, Facebook & CASA

Did you know that you can help raise money for CASA of Yellowstone County – through Facebook? via CNN Money If you have a Facebook account with your date of birth listed, Facebook will send you a notification as your birthday approaches giving you the option to dedicate your special day to raising funds for a nonprofit organization of your choice. When you receive this notification, you can select CASA of Yellowstone County as the recipient, and your Facebook friends will have the option to donate to...

26 Sep

A Recommendation for the Advocate’s Bookshelf

  Image courtesy of J. Mack Effective advocacy work requires CASAs to take cultural competency seriously. Our training manual cautions, “What you do not understand may lead to inaccurate interpretations.” One way we can appreciate an unfamiliar culture is through the medium of good storytelling. A talented author can use words to paint a cultural experience that can memorably enlighten the reader’s heart and mind. There There: A Novel, by Tommy Orange, is an example of informative and impactful storytelling. There There shines...