Media Release: CASA to Advance Mission from A New Home

CASA to Advance Mission from A New Home

One of the taglines of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is helping children to find a “Safe, Permanent Home-As Quickly as Possible”. In that same vein, CASA’s desire for permanency, in order to better serve the communities of Walker, San Jacinto, and Trinity Counties, has led this organization to purchase a new “home” at 2515 Pine Shadows Drive, the former First Financial Bank Annex Building. Although it may seem on the surface that the decision to buy, the selection of the new location, and the move have happened quickly; the process began around five years ago with planning and resource development.

When Debbie Price became the CASA Board President in August of 2022, she wanted the conversations to become intentional plans, investigate buildings, and have feet on the ground looking for an existing structure. “Once the decision was made, Realtor Stacey Roberts joining the Board was pivotal. We had the knowledge; we had the person who could maneuver the process. Her wisdom was critical. That is when it started feeling the most real. We started talking about the investment and the finances.”

The contributions of so many “friends of CASA” throughout the community and the diligence of those within the CASA family brought the dream of this organization, dwelling in a “Permanent Home”, to fruition. The Facilities Committee consisting of Russell Humphrey, Carlton Boaz, Stacey Roberts, Chris Supan, Pat Stephenson, Debbie Price, Jill Pagels, Mary Petron, and Sharon Dieringer, each impacted the process in a variety of ways. Price commented that Humphrey and Boaz made it clear that building something was going to be too expensive. “Carlton is doing the work on the building that we are buying, not just as a contractor but as a Board Associate. He brings a totally different mindset to our Board. His perspective is very practical.”

The support of this project extended from within the program out to other entities in Walker County. The people of First Financial Bank (FFB) committed to CASA in a way that was critical. “The $150,000 contribution from FFB was essential in making this purchase possible, and we are humbled by their evident commitment to CASA’s future success” Executive Director Kim Weiser shared. Facilities Committee Chairman Ernie Smith stated that, “The bank was happy that we (CASA) were in a position to buy the building because of who we are; they were supportive of us growing and interested in helping us meet our needs.” Although, First National Bank will be losing CASA as a tenant, they also have been supportive of the organization’s desire to vacate and flexible with the timeline of this process.

Staff, Advocates, and Board members have all uttered the words “excited” and “exciting” as they have progressed towards packing up and occupying the new space. Executive Assistant Emily O’Rear offered that she “is looking forward to people being able to come to our facility and staying, feeling at home. That is our mission, to make children feel safe. I love the correlation; we have found our forever home.” Program Director Rachel Drake commented that she is “most excited about the opportunity for growth. We will be able to grow into the ideas we have now; we will see more needs, and have more ideas implemented without having to move again.” Lastly, 10-year advocate Chris Supan communicated that he is thrilled for the staff. “They will have sufficient room to conduct all of the trainings and the ability to serve the needs of the advocates in this location.”

Over the last several years, CASA’s goal of a “safe, permanent, nurturing home for every child it serves” has become more widely known in our tri-county area. However, the consensus of all involved in this journey to the organization’s new residence, is that CASA will gain a greater visibility and exposure in the community. Smith declared that “with this greater visibility and exposure, we will have a chance to recite to new people what we’ve accomplished in our support of children in the three counties.”

Although the doors will be open for business on April 4, 2023, CASA invites the public to attend the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening to be held on May 11, at 4:30. Refreshments will be provided as people explore this new, forevermore “home” of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Walker, San Jacinto, and Trinity Counties. CASA is excited to share this space that will be important to the program and its mission going forward!

For more information about CASA and how to become involved with this organization, visit or call 936-291-CASA.