Mesilla Valley Casa
Mesilla Valley CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), Inc. was established in September 1993 at the request of the Judges of New Mexico's Third District Court. We currently serve the court of the Honorable Grace B. Duran.
Before the formulation of the CASA program, many times decisions about the future of abused and neglected children were made without all of the facts and information necessary to determine what was truly in the best interest of those children. The solution is the advocate, an ordinary citizen who is trained and given tools to make an informed recommendation to the court as to what might be in the best interest of the children.
Our advocates are recruited, screened, receive a minimum of 30 hours of training, have a background check and are supervised by the Executive Director and our staff. Our advocates are sworn officers of the court, acting as the voice of the children and the “eyes and ears of the Children’s Court Judge”.
Advocate for Children in foster care and protect their interests.
To ensure that every child has a safe, supportive, and permanent home.
Helping children replace a life of hurt with one of hope.
THE HISTORY OF CASA
The idea of a Court Appointed Special Advocate was originally started by Judge David Soukup in 1977. Judge Soukup felt that children needed more support as they moved through the dependency and neglect system. He also felt that someone had to speak directly for them during the process.
Since then, this idea of a CASA has expanded into 49 states, including the National CASA Association, located in Seattle. In 2014, the entire CASA network of programs and organizations served over 250,000 children, an estimated 76,327 volunteers participated and 24,186 new volunteers were trained. The National CASA Association develops and maintains the volunteer curriculum, ensuring that the highest standards are kept.
Doreen joined Mesilla Valley CASA in 2001. She has more than twenty years of experience in social work, holding both a Bachelors's and a Masters's of Social Work. Doreen oversees the management of the agency and all aspects of the agency's operations, including resource development and donor stewardship, agency and program planning, community and public relations, personnel development and management, and fiscal management. Doreen is the agency liaison to the Board of Directors.
Brandie joined Mesilla Valley CASA in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work and has more than a decade of experience in various sectors of social work. Brandie is primarily responsible for the supervision and coordination of the advocate training program, which includes actively recruiting volunteer advocates, interviewing and training advocates, as well as supporting and supervising advocates in their work. She also assists with supervision and leadership of the agency and in resource development through event planning and other fundraising focused activities.
Mesilla Valley CASA Board of Directors is a dedicated group of community volunteers with a broad range of talents and professional backgrounds. They provide Mesilla Valley CASA with a high level of governance, fiscal oversight, compliance, and accountability.
Wendy Beserra, President - Retired Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
Mary Ellen McKay, Vice President - Educator, New Mexico State University (Retired)
Brenda J. Allred, Treasurer - Banker, Bank of the West
Rebecca Cram, Secretary - Independent Business Owner
Lupe Nevarez - Business Owner, The Children's Garden
Kristi Martin, Secretary - Public Administrator, Doña Ana Community College