Weatherford Democrat

August 18, 2013

CASA receives Texas Gas Service grant funds


Weatherford Democrat

— Grant funds from Texas Gas Service were recently presented to CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties following a request from the local non-profit group.

CASA provides trained volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in the two counties.

“Earlier this year, we requested a grant from Texas Gas Service that would assist us with the purchase of a vehicle to be used in our volunteer recruitment and training efforts,” said Barb Tucker, CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties executive director. “In July, Texas Gas Service delivered a $5,000 check courtesy of their corporation’s charitable foundation. We are very thankful to have received the grant.”

Texas Gas Service, with offices in Weatherford and Minerals Wells, is a division of ONEOK, one of the nation’s largest natural gas distributors. Founded in 1906, Oklahoma Natural Gas Company changed its name to ONEOK in late 1980. Today, ONEOK serves about 2 million customers through its natural gas distribution companies Oklahoma Natural Gas, Kansas Gas Service, and Texas Gas Service.

Since its inception in 1997, the ONEOK Foundation has awarded $39 million in grants to support nonprofit organizations throughout their operating areas.

On July 11, Wyatt Irby, executive director of Texas Gas Service, came to the CASA office in Weatherford to deliver the grant funds.

“We were so pleased to have received this money,” said Trisha Duke, the volunteer recruiter and trainer for CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties. “These funds will be used towards the purchase of a vehicle which I and other CASA staff can use for traveling to speaking engagements, educational meetings, volunteer trainings and other events related to helping abused and neglected children in our counties.”

CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties currently has 102 volunteers serving 295 children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or both. One hundred percent of the judges’ requests for a CASA volunteer on a child abuse case are met by CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties.

“We are one of only a handful of CASA programs in Texas that provide 100 percent coverage of cases,” Tucker added. “That’s why it is so important to build our volunteer numbers to meet the ever-growing number of child abuse cases.

“The number of children in care of Child Protective Services (CPS) has doubled in the past year for our local CASA program. With this increase comes the need for more volunteers who are trained to be a strong voice for these children in court, and to be a strong advocate for them as they travel through the foster care system,” she said.

The vehicle, once purchased, will also be used to help carefully transport the children’s belongings when they change foster home placements.

“We want to thank Texas Gas Service and ONEOK Foundation for this generous grant,” Tucker added. “The funds will be put to great use for our organization and the children we serve.”

For more information about CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties, or becoming a CASA volunteer, contact Duke at 817-599-6224 or trishaduke@casaofparkercounty.com.