McCoy's donates $500,000 to CASA of Central Texas

Pictured from left: Frank Pereira (CASA board member, Hays County), David Junkin (CASA board member, Hays County), Carol Grimm (CASA volunteer advocate, Hays County), Becky Lake (CASA board member, Guadalupe County), JoAnne Germer (CASA board president, Caldwell County), Norma Castilla-Blackwell (CASA executive director), Miriam McCoy, Brenda Remme McCoy, Brian Mc-Coy, John Barthel (CASA volunteer advocate, Hays County), Tricia Schneider (CASA development director), Kimberly Key (CASA program director). PHOTO BY DON ANDERS

Child advocacy agency CASA of Central Texas received a $500,000 donation from Miriam McCoy recently, the largest single gift ever received by the organization.

“I’m so pleased to be able to make this gift to help children in need. I am also so grateful to the CASA Board, leadership, administration and volunteers that work so hard, ”McCoy said at the check presentation, which took place at the McCoy’s Building Supply corporate office. “The work you do is emotional and important. I thank you for all you do to help the children.”

The donation was made to the organization’s Capital Campaign to build a volunteer training and support center on Hunter Road in San Marcos. CASA of Central Texas has been in the area for 33 years, but this will be the first time to build and own a facility in Hays County. McCoy’s generous donation will ensure the project moves along the planned timeline with groundbreaking scheduled this July.

“We plan to nearly double the number of children CASA serves each year by building this new volunteer training center and headquarters in the heart of our community,” CASA of Central Texas Board President JoAnn Germer said. “This facility will vastly increase the number of volunteers we can train and support both now and into the future, and we greatly appreciate Mrs. Mc-Coy’s gift that moves us toward our goal.”

When a child is removed from an unsafe home environment, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA. CASA volunteers are screened, highly trained and then appointed by judges to represent and advocate for a child’s best interest in the child protection system.

San Marcos resident John Barthel spotted a newspaper article about CASA and decided to learn more about the program. He was sworn in as a volunteer in 2011.

“I have learned the value to a child of having an adult just ‘be there’ consistently over the long haul,” Barthel said about his time as a CASA volunteer. “Both in good times and bad, it seems that having a loyal, consistent, non-judging adult can reduce some of the anxiety in a foster child’s life, and provide some much needed stability.”

CASA volunteers are each assigned to help one child or set of siblings at a time, so they can focus on giving that child or sibling group the individualized advocacy and attention that they need. But, as CASA of Central Texas Executive Director Norma Blackwell said, this leaves more than half of the children in state care without the advantage of a CASA at their side.

“Right now CASA has about 250 volunteers, and each year we see more than 800 children in our community who need our services,” Blackwell said. “Because we aim to advocate for every child who needs us, our focus right now is to dramatically increase the number of CASA volunteers we recruit, train and support.”

McCoy’s daughter Brenda McCoy Remme and sons Brian McCoy and Mike McCoy are very excited about CASA’s building plans, and spoke about the tireless dedication of CASA’s volunteer advocates, a few of whom they know personally. They are aware of the hope CASA volunteers give to children who have suffered from unimaginable abuse and neglect.

“Great things get done because of the wonderful work of volunteers,” Brian Mc-Coy said. “When mom and dad get the opportunity to connect to causes close to home, they are very pleased to give support. It’s amazing what people can overcome when they have a little help.”

The facility site is located at the corner of Hunter Road and Reimer Avenue in San Marcos and building plans are underway.

“We have an excellent team lined up to build CASA’s training and support center,” Blackwell said. “CASA is pleased to be working with local firms including Wood & Thomason Construction, Fuse Architecture, Alpha Associates, Doucet & Associates, Dunaway Associates, ECM International, Coleman & Associates, and X5 Engineering.”

CASA welcomes additional donations to support their campaign to expand CASA’s program services to help more abused and neglected children from Central Texas. Donations may be mailed to CASA of Central Texas, attn: Capital Campaign, P.O. Box 1267, San Marcos, TX 78667.

San Marcos Daily Record

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