Mother Daughter Team

Mother/Daughter Duo Grows CASA Program in Rural Texas

Calesta House made one of her best recruiting coups when she convinced her mother Anice to join as a CASA volunteer. Pictured with Judge Mary Craft.

Program: CASA of Liberty/Chambers County
Location: Liberty County, TX

When Calesta House was growing up, there was always a parade of visitors coming through the home: friends who needed a place to live, exchange students seeking a home base, and even animals, who found a caring haven.

“In fact, we had a running joke in the family that my younger sister brought home all the stray animals and I brought home all the stray friends,” Calesta says. “But my mom was the one who opened her doors, who welcomed them in and allowed us to take care of everyone.”

That nurturing environment decades ago not only looked after many souls — both two- and four-footed — it also spawned two motivated and valued present-day CASA volunteers, Calesta and her mother, Anice Dominy.

Calesta became involved four years ago, when a local social services agency decided to discontinue its role in the CASA program. So she and others in her community formed a steering committee and founded a stand-alone CASA program in Liberty County, TX. The group has since expanded to include Chambers County, and Calesta is president of the board. 

“It has been humbling to see how our needs have been met by the community, over and over again,” she says. “Fundraisers have been more successful than we expected, and community members and organizations have stepped up when we’ve needed it. It’s amazing to see how it all falls into place.” 

Calesta made one of her best recruiting coups when she convinced her mother to join as a CASA volunteer. 

Anice was retired and had the time available, but she sometimes wondered in the beginning whether she really had something to offer the program. She was nervous about speaking to the judge in court, and the amount and complexity of the paperwork involved seemed daunting. 

“But one day, when I had to go and check on my little guy at his school, he came through the door at the principal’s office and threw his arms around my neck and said, ‘I love you!’” Anice recalls of her first case.

“That made everything worthwhile: the nervousness, running the reports, everything. CASA volunteers are the only voice these kids have, and we’re often the only consistent thing in their lives. And we do make a difference,” she adds.

 It’s like Calesta knew all along that her mom would make a great CASA volunteer — and why not? Calesta had learned at Anice’s feet about what it means to care for people in need.

“As soon as I heard about the little boy hugging her, I knew my mom was hooked,” Calesta says.