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CANO Newsletter                                                          March 2018
  1. From the Executive Director's Desk
  2. CASA Volunteer Spotlight - Amy Richards
  3. March Parenting Tips:  "Teaching Life Skills to Your Children"
  4. New CASA Advocate Coordinator
  5. A.W.A.R.E. Workshop in Claremore
  6. New CASA Training Class in Pryor
  7. CANO in the Spotlight on KSN
  8. Shop at / Triple Donations During March

From the
Director's Desk


The daffodils are coming up, the birds are chirping, and the wind is sweeping down the plains. It must be March in Oklahoma! 

Exciting things are happening at Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma, too.  Next month, we will be introducing you to someone very special - our very own superhero character. 

Some really awesome students in Claremore's Northeast Technology Center EAST program created our Superhero, The CASA Crusader.  He will make his personal debut around the first of April and you'll see him at events and activities throughout northeastern Oklahoma.

Much like the children our program serves, our hero was abused and neglected as a child until The CASA Crusader saved him.  Now, he speaks up for children, using his special Stylus to rewrite the story of children who need extra love and support.

The message of The CASA Crusader is that you, too, can be a Superhero for a child in cape or boots required.  To learn more about how to be a Superhero for a child, visit our website at



Volunteer Spotlight


Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) enjoys highlighting the advocate work of one of our CASA volunteers each month. 

This month’s Spotlight features Amy Richards, who works with foster children in Rogers County.



Amy is married to Jim Richards and lives in Claremore.  She has three children and 6 grandchildren (plus 4 horses, 6 dogs, and 2 cats she indicated with a laugh).
Amy is a full-time nursing instructor at Rogers State University.  Currently, she also is working on her doctoral degree in nursing and will graduate in May.  She shared, “It’s been an exciting journey.  I love Rogers State, I love Claremore, and I love working with CASA kids in Rogers County.”
Amy’s daughter, Abby, is the person who influenced Amy to get involved in CASA work.  While Abby was taking the CASA training, she shared with her mother the wonderful things that CASA does.  Amy signed up for the next training class and has been serving as a CASA volunteer since May 2014.
However, Amy remembered also when she first heard about CASA, which was almost 30 years ago.  One of her best friends from high school became a foster parent and eventually adopted the baby girl.  Amy shared, “She said it was the CASA worker who really was instrumental during the foster care and in the adoption.  It was the CASA worker that really made things happen.”  Those impressions stayed with Amy.
When asked about her experiences in working with the children, Amy said, “One of the most memorable things is that I had a CASA girl that had been moved around from foster home to foster home.  When I went to see her after her third move in a year, she looked at me and smiled and then said, ‘You found me!  You found me!’  That just meant the world to me. 
Amy indicated that internally she thought, “I’m never going to lose you.  I’m always going to know where you are.”  Every time these children are moved, they think the relationship is over.
Another story that Amy shared was working with two siblings who were taken in by their paternal grandparents.  The girls loved to garden so Amy would take their picture in front of their tomato plants every time she visited them.  She shared, “Just to see them grow and to see the plants grow behind them and all the fruit.  It was cool.”
Amy also talked about seeing the resilience of these same children who had been removed from their home and placed in a loving, caring environment.  She shared, “They were always so joyful and happy.  I’m not talking about money or a big fancy home or a big fancy car.  The difference was a loving and caring setting with grandparents who always had food on the stove cooking and were always taking them to church activities.  Just what a difference.  All these kiddos needed was a loving home and someone to care for them.”
When asked about what she would tell someone considering becoming a CASA volunteer, Amy shared, “Being a CASA volunteer is something like none other you will experience in your entire life.  It is self-rewarding; it’s rewarding to the child.  I think the biggest thing to me is how the judge listens and puts value on what I have to say.  I have a lot of respect for the judges in Rogers County.” 

“I know that the reports that I give, the things that I say, and my presence in the courtroom really matter to the judge,” Amy continued. “I really like the judge that works with us in Rogers County.  If I’m in the courtroom and she asks, ‘Is CASA on the case?  What do you think?  What are your recommendations?’  It makes me feel valued.”

Another incident that Amy shared about working on a case was about asking a child if the child wanted her to tell the judge anything.  The child said, “Just tell her I want to go home.”  Amy shared, “And I told the judge that in court.  I like being the voice for those that don’t have a choice, those that don’t have a voice in the courtroom.  I’m happy to be able to do that.”

“I’m honored to do what I do more than anything else,” Amy stated.  “It’s a privilege.”

I am so pleased that Amy was chosen for the Volunteer Spotlight!  Amy is a great addition to our team of volunteers here in Rogers County.  With her background in nursing she brings with her a lot of very beneficial training and expertise.  She always does a great job on the cases she is assigned to.


Sandra Rains
Advocate Coordinator for Rogers County

We are grateful to Amy and the other CASA volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in northeast Oklahoma.  Please join us in thanking Amy for her service to the children in foster care in Rogers County.

March Parenting Tips

During the month of March, CANO will be featuring tips on "Teaching Life Skills to Your Children". 

Check our CANO Facebook site  (
daily for some helpful tips on ways we can help prepare our children to face the challenges of daily lives as adults.

Teaching Life Skills to Your Children

Neglecting to teach children important life skills – basic abilities that can help them in the real world once they leave home – is not a sustainable way to parent.  Some parents think that childhood should be a time filled only with endless fun and carefree activities.  While a child’s enjoyment during childhood is important, it is vital that parents use the child’s early years as a time to train and equip them with the tools necessary to face the demands of adult life. Otherwise, you could end up with a 35-year-old roommate that lives in your attic or basement.

To aid parents in teaching life skills to their children, CANO has written an Op-Ed article with tips and some good references about the types of basic skills that all parents should be teaching during their children's formative years.

To read the full Op-Ed piece, visit our website: LINK .

Advocate Coordinator


Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma  is pleased to announce that Jay Rector has been hired to serve as a new CASA Advocate Coordinator.  Rector will be supervising CASA volunteers who serve the children involved in court cases in Craig and Mayes Counties as well as the Quapaw tribal court. 


Rector, who lives in Grove with his wife of 25 years and granddaughter (age 5½), was working as a special education teacher for Claremore Public Schools.  He is an active member of First Christian Church in Grove and enjoys boating and creating stained glass artwork.


When asked about specific goals for his new position, Rector stated, “I think the very first goal I have is to sit down and shut up, because I really think I know a lot, but I want to know how they do it.  But I want to learn.  I’m a life-long learner and I just really think that I need to be quiet and to listen.”


“I have very a specific goal of being the ‘volunteer’s volunteer’, Rector continued.  “What I mean by that is when you’re somebody’s supervisor and you don’t understand their job, then you can’t supervise them.  Well, I’ve been a volunteer for a very long time and I know what it takes to keep a volunteer, I know what volunteers want, I know what volunteers need to stick around.  And so, I know how to treat a volunteer because I am one.”


Typically, Rector can be seen clad in Hawaiian shirts and listening to beach music and he enjoys working on stained-glass art pieces in his spare time.  Rector shared, “I’m really laid back and I think that allows me to be inoffensive in a way and not intrusive.  I mean I can get into places because I just kind of fit in.”


Rector states that he wants to be thought of as a little quirky.  He shared, “I think outside the box. I think differently.  I push the envelope, whatever term you want to use.”  The bottom line is that Rector wants to be thought of as helpful and looks forward to this new opportunity to help abused and neglected children in northeastern Oklahoma.

Lift up a child’s voice,
a child’s life – become a CASA Volunteer!

CASA Training Classes
Saturdays, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM
April 21, 28, May 5, 19
First Pryority Bank
310 East Graham, Pryor
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) provide a powerful voice for children in the child welfare system.  Appointed by a judge, CASA volunteers work to help ensure that the needs of abused and neglected children are met, that their best interests are served, and that they are placed in safe, nurturing, permanent homes.

More volunteers are needed!  If you know someone who would make a good advocate, encourage them to contact us about this upcoming training class.

To register, contact:
Gayle Hanson, Training Coordinator
785-623-6955 or 918-923-4570

For more information, visit: 

CANO in the Spotlight

Recently, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) has been highlighted through interviews with a number of local media outlets.

This month, CASA Training Class was featured in an interview piece by KSN’s news reporter, Erin Sullivan.  Erin interviewed Gayle Hanson, CASA Training Coordinator, and Herb Angle, a new CASA volunteer trainee, during the training class held in Grove.  The newscast gave a good overview of the need for more CASA volunteers in northeast Oklahoma. 

To see the full video on the KSN Joplin news station, use this
Support CANO

Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible purchase from March 12 - 31. This is a great opportunity to increase Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma, Inc.'s AmazonSmile donations.

Simply use this LINK to select Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) as the organization you support.  
Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a court-appointed special advocate program headquartered in Claremore Oklahoma. We serve Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, and Delaware Counties.

                   Headquarters:                                  Miami Office:
                   200 S. Lynn Riggs                             103 E. Central, Suite 500 

                   Claremore, OK 74017                       (St. James Court Bldg.)

                   Telephone: 918-923-4570                 Miami, OK 74354

                   Website:        918-325-7202     

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