SEPTEMBER 2023CASA NEWSLETTER Message from Wendy Magee CASA Jefferson Executive Director
September is Self–Care Awareness Month- it is a time to remind us that takingcare of ourselves, first and foremost, is essential. Self-care is an essential part of maintaining good mental and physical health. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Get enough sleep: Sleep is crucial for your overall well-being. It can help you feel more energized, improve your mood, and boost your immune system. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Eat a balanced diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you feel better both physically and mentally. Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is important for maintaining good health. It can help you stay alert, improve your mood, and keep your skin looking healthy.
Exercise regularly: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per da1.
Take breaks: Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help you stay focused and productive. Try taking a short walk, doing some stretching exercises, or simply taking a few deep breath2.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
Connect with others: Spending time with friends and family can help you feel more connected and supported. Try to make time for social activities that you enjoy.
Do something you enjoy: Taking time to do something you enjoy can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to music, or taking a relaxing bath, make sure to set aside time for yourself each day. Remember that self-care is not selfish - it’s essential for maintaining good health and well-being.
To purchase CASA Jefferson Gala Tickets go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/casa-jefferson-gala-tickets-667064035487?aff=oddtdtcreator
Thank you to the Jefferson Parish Council for presenting CASA Jefferson with a PROCLAMATION on August 23, 2023. Proclamation was signed by: Cynthia Lee Sheng - Parish President Scott Walker – Council Chairman Ricky J. Templet – Councilman At Large, A Marion F. Edwards – Councilman, District 1 Deano Bonano – Councilman, District 2 Bryon Lee – Councilman, District 3 Dominick F. Impasto III – Councilman, District 4 Jennifer Van Vrancken – Councilwoman, District 5
IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR OUR CASA JEFFERSON KIDS TO FILL OUT THEIR CHRISTMAS GIFT WISH LIST!
In the coming weeks, your supervisor will be providing you with a wish list for your CASA Jefferson child to fill out. There are 2 different wish lists - one is for children 12 and under and the other is for children 13 and over. Please have your CASA child, foster parent and/or parent complete the correct wish list and return to you ASAP. Other children in the home who are not CASA children should NOT fill out a wish list. Also, don’t forget to set the expectation that every item wished for - may not be received. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your supervisor.
EARN IN-SERVICE TRAINING HOURS
The Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy (LCWTA) has partnered with Louisiana CASA to allow advocates an online account to access training in their LCWTA eLearning System. You can access the on-line training on any computer or smartphone.
There are over 25 courses available. You can earn up to 22.5 in service hours.
To access the on-line training site, go to: https://moodle.lcwta.org/login/index.php To log in: Username is Your Email Address Temporary Password: CasaJeff123* Reminder: All advocates are required to have 12 hours of In-Service training hours by the end of the year (1 hour per month).
As summer ends, a mix of emotions can fill households. While some parents eagerly anticipate sending their kids back to school, and some kids look forward to reuniting with friends and teachers, this time of year can also be met with anxiety and frustration. Common anxiety may manifest in physical complaints, such as headaches and gastrointestinal problems. You may notice your child or teen become more agitated or noncompliant as the school year rapidly approaches. Other children may revert emotionally and demonstrate an uptick in separation anxiety. Others may be running down a laundry list of the negatives of school. Regardless of how your child approaches this upcoming transition, here are some helpful tips for starting a great school year.
Listen And Validate The first step in addressing back-to-school anxiety is to genuinely listen to your child’s concerns. This might seem like the most obvious step, but it can also be the most difficult. Validate their feelings and fears without trying to immediately fix the situation. By showing empathy and understanding, you create a supportive environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their emotions. This can be as simple as saying, “I know this is hard for you going from such a fun and free summer to the busy school day, it feels a bit frustrating and like you don’t have much control right now.”
Collaboratively Problem Solve Identify specific anxiety triggers and work together with your child to find solutions. By involving them in problem-solving, you can help empower them to feel more independent and confident in handling challenges. Building these skills will ultimately contribute to their success in school and beyond. This may look like acknowledging and validating their concerns and then asking them what they think could help reduce their anxiety. For example: “Hey, I know you’re already thinking about being nervous tomorrow morning, but what might make you feel a little less nervous. Any ideas?” You may be surprised with what they come up with! And if they are frozen in anxiety and not able to problem solve, you can offer options and discuss how those choices may influence their feelings or anxiety.
Get Into A Routine Early Ease your child back into a school routine at least a week before classes begin. Gradually reintroduce early mornings and consistent evening schedules. This may include laying out clothes the night before, getting up at the same hours as school and completing evening routines. For children with high anxiety, practice the school routine in detail, including potentially driving to the school and discussing drop-off scenarios. Remind them of positive and familiar experiences from the past to build reassurance.
Give Your Child Choices And Make It Fun Empower your child by allowing them to make choices related to the upcoming school year. Let them pick their outfit for the first day or a favorite accessory if they have a uniform. Plan a special breakfast and dinner menu. Consider positive reinforcements for getting through the initial jitters, such as a treat at a coffee shop the first day or a fun weekend activity. Having something that excites them will help them manage their anxiety. Our brains have trouble identifying the difference between anxiety and excitement. If they have something to be excited about, there’s a high chance they will relabel anxiety as anticipation for the upcoming event.
Provide Confidence Boosts Help your child focus on their positive personality traits. Encourage them to verbalize their strengths, like being a good friend, a flexible problem solver or a strong and fearless individual. Reinforcing these qualities helps them feel stable in an unpredictable world.
Watch Your Own Anxiety Children often model their behavior after their parents. Be mindful of how you manage your own anxiety, especially when it comes to your child's back-to-school worries. Demonstrate confidence and offer support, but if you have concerns, seek help privately to maintain a positive outlook for your child. Show them healthy coping skills and positive self-talk through your actions and anxiety management.
Seek Help If your child's anxiety becomes overwhelming, or begins to interfere with their daily life, consider seeking professional counseling. Many professionals are available to provide support and help your child build the necessary skills to manage anxiety effectively. Additionally, work with your child's school to identify potential support systems, such as a desired teacher hand-off or a gradual transition plan. School officials can also assist in creating an accommodation plan if necessary. As the upcoming school year approaches, it’s essential to address and manage back-to-school anxiety effectively. By listening to your child, collaborating on solutions, establishing routines and providing confidence boosts, you can make the transition smoother and more successful. Remember, seeking help from professionals or the school when needed is a proactive step toward supporting your child’s well-being and academic success. Together, let’s create a positive and anxiety-free school year for your child!
(Article from: Tips For Easing Back-to-School Anxiety | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/August-2023/Tips-For-Easing-Back-to-School-Anxiety)
SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY CASA VOLUNTEERS Gabrielle Smith Judith Gambino Paula Jascot Sandra Huston Tonia Lee
SEPTEMBER ANNIVERSARY CASA VOLUNTEERS Astrid Figueroa – 3yrs Dawn Miller - 3yrs Gabrielle Smith - 3yrs
Our Mission is to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect through volunteers advocating for safe, nurturing, and permanent homes for foster children in our community.
Our Vision is to have volunteers recruited, trained, and assigned to every child in the foster care system in Jefferson Parish.
New Advocate Volunteer Pre-Service Training classes are Self-Guided & completed ON-LINE from the comfort of your home.
As of September 1, 2023, we have 41 children waiting for a volunteer to advocate for them.
Please have family/friends/coworkers call 504 533-8757 and speak to Margaret Ether to learn more about becoming a CASA Jefferson volunteer advocate.