A Message from the President & CEO: July 2023
By Ann Marie Ronsman, President & CEO | CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
Happy summer! Swimming pools are full. Popsicles are dripping, and the AC is running. Summer in the south! One of my favorite summer memories is of riding in my mother’s wood-grained station wagon with my siblings and friends. We sat in the way back, facing out the back, (if you are old enough, you remember this!) with the windows down headed to what we called Lannon Park. It was a former stone quarry, which is common in the Midwest, that had filled with water. It had a platform you could swim out to and lots of pretty shade trees. We would chase crayfish (not crawfish in the North) around the shallow waters and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the cooler for lunch.
For many children in our community, their summers do not include summer adventures or swimming. Their summer is filled with uncertainty, fear, abuse, and neglect. They count the days until they return to school where they know they will be safe, cared for, and fed.
Memorable Summers for our children
Children who have experienced abuse or neglect are forced to grow up too soon. During the summer, our volunteers try to make the summer a memorable one that gives them the opportunity to enjoy activities they may have missed. They bring art kits, bikes, and summer toys. We host fun nights for teens living in Residential Treatment Centers to give them a sense of normalcy and a break from their environment. Our Grady Spikes fund helps families to pay for summer camps, pool passes, and sports teams. Our Advocates provide stability for the kids they serve while ensuring that the child welfare system focuses on the children. Our volunteers drive (and sometimes fly) long distances to visit children placed outside the area.
Leader in trauma-informed care
We know less than 1% of children who experience abuse, trauma, or neglect will be removed from their homes. However, about 60% of children have experienced trauma before the age of 16. Our Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) Team is doing incredible things by educating our community about the impact of childhood trauma. Our goal is to educate our community so that we can positively impact the children living in traumatic situations who will never be removed from their homes. To that end, over 600 professionals in Conroe ISD received an overview of Trust-Based Relational Intervention in late May. Currently, our TBRI® Team is training all the staff in Juvenile Probation in Montgomery County. Our vision is a Montgomery County where every child who has experienced trauma encounters an adult who recognizes their behavior is the result of trauma and is educated on how to positively impact them.
Wishing you a summer filled with dripping ice cream cones, fireflies, and adventure. Thank you for all you do to support children impacted by trauma in Montgomery County. Whether you donate your time, talent, or treasure, children in our community are impacted by your generosity.
Ann Marie Ronsman, MSN, RN | TBRI® Practitioner
President & CEO