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Special reception scheduled December 3
Francie Gasch, volunteer supervisor of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of South Texas, is officially retiring after being involved with the local volunteer advocacy program for 18 years.
Throughout her tenure, CASA of South Texas advocated for 288 children involved in the foster care system and supervised 79 volunteers in Frioand La Salle counties.
Gasch is a retired educator and elementary school principal who has spent the past two decades in service to the children of South Texas who are victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of their families or in their households.
“It’s truly been an honor to have been a part of such a deserving cause,” Gasch said of her work. “For me, CASA is a calling. During my time with CASA, I’ve seen our volunteers make a truly monumental difference for children and families in our community.”
A come-and-go reception honoring her lifetime of work through CASA, her church, Pearsall schools and community will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, December 3, at the First United Methodist Church at 507 E. San Antonio Street in Pearsall. Friends and coworkers, past and present, are encouraged to “go by to share a memory, tell a story or give Francie a hug,” according to organizers who are looking to honor Gasch for her service.
CASA of South Texas volunteers are specially trained and appointed by judges to advocate for a child or sibling group while they are in the foster care system. They advocate for the child in court, school and other settings; and make the effort to become acquainted with everyone involved in the child’s life, including parents, foster parents, teachers, doctors, family members and others.
“CASA volunteers advocate first and foremost for children to be reunified with their parents whenever safe and possible,” CASA of South Texas Executive Director Joni Garcia wrote. “When reunification is not an option, they may advocate for the child to live with another relative or family friend. They can also advocate for the child to be placed in an adoptive home. In all cases, CASA volunteers are steadfast, consistent presences for the children they serve, making sure they are safe and have the resources and connections they need to grow and thrive.
“We will miss Francie,” Garcia added. “Her years of leadership pushed our program towards bigger milestones and helped us extend our impact. Francie was sworn in as a CASA volunteer in 2004, and transitioned to staff in 2009. Her community impact and influence in Frio and La Salle counties is unsurpassed. She is dedicated to her CASA children. She has been a supportive, transparent, trustworthy and inspirational mentor to her volunteers. Her passion to guide and lead CASA through many changes over the years has kept her in the forefront of her community.
“CASA of South Texas respects Francie’s wisdom, perspective, faith and sense of humor,” Garcia said. “We are grateful she will remain a CASA volunteer and continue to help CASA of South Texas fulfill its mission of being a voice for children who are before the court as a result of abuse or neglect, advocating for the best interest of children in care.”
All those interested in becoming CASA volunteers or would like to know more about CASA of South Texas may visit the organization’s website at www.casasouthtx.org or go to BecomeACASA.org.