CASA conference coming to town

Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” 

The local child advocacy group, CASA of Walker, San Jacinto and Trinity Counties, is set to host a conference for CASA advocates on April 27 at the Region 6 Education Center, 3332 Montgomery Road. The conference, “Amplifying Advocacy: Building a Better Tomorrow” will be used for CASA advocates, social workers, teachers and peace officers to learn methods to fight for the best interest of children.

“We are holding this event to reignite the passion for service to children who do not have a voice,” said advocate Janet Davidson. “They really are our future and we want to ensure they know they are supported.”

The one day conference features several keynote speakers, including James and Nancy Gaertner, Dr. Dale Underwood and Jon Sheptock.

“The Gaertners were chosen to speak at the event because of their support of CASA and advocacy in the community,” Davidson added. “Underwood works at a residential research center and cares for the population of underserved individuals.”

Sheptock will give the closing speech to the attendees. He was born without arms and one short leg and placed in foster care. He was eventually adopted by a family which cares for disabled children and has adopted over 40 of them. His experiences led him to become a child advocate.

“Jon has so much to offer as an advocate,” Davidson said. “He has overcome a lot in his life and does not live with excuses. He brings a message of perseverance and instills that into whoever he talks to.”

The event will also include breakout sessions, featuring exercises to connect with children and lectures by notable experts in the field. The first breakout session allows attendees to choose between two exercises, “Games and Activities for Kids Who Hurt” with social worker Beth Powell or “Teens Who Hurt” with professional counselor Christine Hoover. The final session will give attendees the option to choose between “The Traumatized Brain and How It Behaves” with Dr. Amanda Venta or “The Effects of Exposure to Abuse and Neglect” with Richard Henriksen Jr.

“We want to continue to advocate for these children and make a positive impact on the community,” Davidson added.

Registration for the conference is $30 and will be open through April 22. Registration includes lunch, snacks, and all conference materials.

To register for the event, visit