CASA Welcomes New Advocates

CASA Welcomes New Advocates

New Advocates Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comOn March 19, and May 21, the Hon. Rebecca Connolly swore in 30 community members as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in foster care.

New Advocates Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.com

2019 CASA Graduating Class: Back (from left): Honorable Judge Rebecca Connolly, Guille Silva, Christopher Erikson, Joani Rieger, Erika Anderson, Emma Gordon, Jenny Hundemer (CASA Trainer), Laurie Romero, Devon Linneman, Sugey Cortez, Tim McGirk, Franco Tandoi, Gary Bloom, Brenda Picone, Barbara Lorimer. Front (from left): Linda Myrick, Gaby Solano, Linda Wolbers, Alicia Marquez, Sesario Escoto.

The newly appointed volunteer Advocates completed 35 hours of training and will be advocating for children in the county’s dependency (foster care) court system.

As officers of the Court, they ensure that the children’s needs are recognized and their best interests are considered in the courtroom, school, and in the community.

“I have over 30 years of experience working with abused and neglected children, and for 26 of those years, I have been a Social Worker,” said CASA’s Executive Director Lynne Petrovic, who has been in the role since August. “I loved working with our children and the systems that support them. But no matter what position I held, I saw that sometimes we were unable to come together as a system and a team to do right by every kid.”

“Every child in our system needs someone who is looking out for that child’s unique needs — so that when the system struggles, there is someone who will watch and speak up for that child’s best interests and who will stick with that child no matter what,” Petrovic continued. “Our Court Appointed Advocates provide advocacy, stability and hope to children who may never have had stability or ever believed that hope was worthwhile having — And that is a wonderful thing to do. We are grateful for every community member that steps forward to help our children.”

CASA of Santa Cruz County’s waitlist of children currently includes 24 children, 16 of which are under the age of 3. Although there is a great need for bilingual and male volunteers, we always encourage people from all cultures and professions and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds to learn more.

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New Advocates Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.com

2019 CASA Graduating Class(cont): Back (from left): Honorable Judge Rebecca Connolly, Jean Poulos, James Smith, Torrey Ebaugh, Patrick Donnelly, Anna Maria Jimenez, Kim Mygatt, Jocelyn Lopez-Marinez, Mark Ebaugh, Casie Wright, Jenny Hundemer (CASA Trainer). Front (from left): Dawn Shoemaker, Alondra Bonilla, Isabel Hernandez, Elena Dobb.

Upcoming Informational sessions are:

  • Saturday, June 8, 10:00 a.m. at CASA, located at 813 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville
  • Tuesday, June 11, 6:00 p.m. at Live Oak Family Resource Center, located at 1740 17th Avenue in Santa Cruz
  • Wednesday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. at CASA, located at 813 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville
  • Thursday, June 13, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at The Painted Cork Studio, located at 1129 Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz
  • Friday, June 14, 12:00 p.m. at California Coffee, located at 9105 Soquel Drive in Aptos

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For more info on how to become a CASA volunteer advocate, please contact CASA Outreach Coordinator Cita Rasul at (831) 761-2956, ext. 201, or visit www.casaofsantacruz.org.

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