Leadership Montgomery County Class of 2021 Completes Project for CASA Child Advocates
4-part project includes life skills training event for teens, renovation of CPS visitation rooms, creation of an online resources directory for volunteers, and comprehensive disaster plan for organization
Leadership Montgomery County (LMC) Class of 2021, comprised of 43 leaders in the County, selected a four-part initiative submitted by CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County as their class project. Since last fall, the class has worked with CASA staff to complete the individual projects to benefit children in foster care in Montgomery County.
“We are so proud of this class and their dedication to accomplishing all four of these projects for CASA,” says Sarah Rhea, Leadership Montgomery County’s Executive Director. “Class projects allow class members to further develop their leadership skills while leaving a lasting legacy in the community. I can assure you that each of these class members now has a special place in their heart for CASA and the difference they make in our community.” Rhea continues, “We are so grateful to CASA for giving the class this opportunity to be a part of its mission.”
One of the projects the class took on was CASA’s “Game of Life” for teens in foster care. The event was held in-person in 2019 but had to be postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2019, teens rotated through stations to learn various life skills to help prepare them to age out of the foster care system. CASA Child Advocates turned to LMC to innovate and transform the event for 2021, and the LMC team worked for more than 6 months to develop the curriculum and plan event logistics.
The 2021 “Game of Life” was held on Saturday, April 10th, and included 11 LMC facilitators and 20 CASA staff spread across 7 residential treatment centers (RTCs) and community buildings with more than 50 youth in attendance. The event was simulcast to the different locations using pre-recorded videos and Zoom. Presenters covered topics including personal health, household management, job preparation, nutrition, financial literacy, vehicle ownership and legal matters. The LMC team also provided CASA with the videos, lesson plans, a resources list, facilitator guide, and budget, ensuring the “Game of Life” can continue to grow in the years to come.
The second project for the LMC class of 2021 included updates and upgrades to four visitation rooms and a conference room at the Child Protective Services (CPS) office in Conroe. The visitation rooms host parents and their children for regular, supervised visits while children are in foster care. The rooms, once bright and cheerful, were showing their age.
The LMC team raised funds, planned themes, and worked with a local artist and muralist to complete the design updates on all of the CPS rooms, including a beach-themed room, a camping room, a flower garden room, and a jungle room. As a result of fundraising efforts, the group was also able to add flat screen televisions, Blue-Ray DVD players, baby monitors, and a deep clean of the facility. Plaques will be posted in all of the rooms in recognition of those who donated items and funds.
The third project for the class was the creation of an online resource directory for volunteer CASA Advocates to help them source needs while assigned to a child’s case. The LMC resource guide team worked tirelessly over many months to build a geo-responsive, searchable, resources website featuring more than 200 organizations across 30 categories, including housing assistance, tutoring, counseling, job preparation, crisis and assistance hotlines, and much more. CASA Child Advocates plans to launch the directory site for their volunteers in June, 2021.
The fourth and final project completed by the LMC class of 2021 was the assessment and development of a disaster recovery plan for CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County to help the organization become better prepared for future potential disasters. The LMC team worked with CASA’s executive director to create a detailed, comprehensive, 30 page plan, and in late April, delivered 24 disaster plan manuals to the organization – one for every CASA staff member.
“Leadership Montgomery County’s donation of time, resources and expertise has been invaluable in allowing us to better serve children in care,” said CASA Executive Director, Ann Marie Ronsman. “The resources they created and improved upon will live on and positively impact the most vulnerable children and families in our community for many years into the future.”
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) speak up for the best interests of children who have been removed from their home and are under the Court’s jurisdiction. CASA’s goal is to continue to provide a court-appointed volunteer to serve as Guardian ad Litem for every child in the foster care system. For the past 29 years, CASA has been training volunteers, raising awareness in the community, and working to end the cycle of child abuse in Montgomery County.
The LMC class of 2021 would like to thank The Howard Hughes Corporation, Vogt Engineering, Caldwell Companies, Michael Huffine of Silver Rock Productions, Judith Dollar of Jude Studios, Michelle McGinnis of Friendly Web Consulting, Product Acuity Consulting, Lone Star Family Health Center, Conroe ISD & Conroe ISD Police Activity League, Montgomery County Food Bank, Texas CASA, and various private contributors. Their donations of time, funds, resources and support, made completion of the four individual projects possible.
For more information about the Game of Life, CASA Resources Directory, or CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, visit the website at www.CASASpeaks4Kids.com or call (936) 441-5437.
Applications for the LMC Class of 2022 will open on June 1, 2021. To apply or more information about LMC, visit www.LMCTX.org.
Leadership Montgomery County (LMC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, dedicated to developing and enhancing current and future leaders of Montgomery County. The mission of LMC is to prepare emerging and existing leaders to understand local issues, grow their leadership skills and connect with others to better serve Montgomery County.
For more information about Leadership Montgomery County, please visit www.LMCTX.org.