Local Matters



There are so many wonderful gifts that come from working at a family-owned newspaper.

But, the best part is the people you meet and the stories you are gifted to tell.

Two of our favorite 52-week a year advertisers happen to be non-profits by the names of Safer Path and CASA of South Texas. These two organizatons do so much for the hurting and needy in Atascosa County. CASA of South Texas (Court Appointed Special Advocate) is the voice for abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes in Atascosa, Frio, La Salle, Karnes and Wilson Counties. Trained community CASA volunteers work to ensure each child has a safe, loving and permanent home. Safer Path Family Violence Shelter, formerly known as Atascosa Family Crisis Center, was established as a nonprofit 501 (c)3 in April of 1992 to provide support to the victims of dating violence, family violence, sexual assault and stalking. Safer Path provides education, prevention, and change to move families from victims to survivors; thereby creating hope for the future.

Jessica Tom, Atascosa County’s roving philanthropist is involved with both of these groups. Four years ago on a whim she started an event to help raise funds for both these non-profits. The event is called HeartStrings for Hope and this past weekend it raised $36,000 to be split between the two. Rhonda Williamson serves as Executive Director for Safer Path and Joni Garcia serves as Executive Director for CASA of South Texas. I am so impressed with all three of these women who have become my friends. My admiration for what they do and how they lead in this community is immense. We are so fortunate to have them helping in our county.

The needs in our county are unfortunately increasing. Safer Path served, 1072 clients during fiscal year (9/1/18-8/31/19) up 23 percent from last year’s 866. Safer Path reached 5,770 individuals via education and prevention programs in fiscal year 2019. CASA is currently serving 191 children on 86 cases with about 50 volunteers with a waiting list of 50 kids. One CASA volunteer has to serve one child for at least one year to get one number. CASA works very hard for their stats. More than 125 volunteers helped CASA of South Texas this year and provided 763 hours of service.

Both of these groups need volunteers. Today, I want to please ask that you give yourself a gift and get to know both these organizations. Please read the HeartString for Hope article on page 2A. Please go to their websites at www.saferpathfvs.org/ and www.casasouthtx.org today to learn how you can help and become involved.

NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at nwilkersonholmes@pleasantonexpress.com.

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