In 2018, 73 community members completed 35 hours of training and were sworn in as Officers of the Court to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates in the Juvenile Dependency Court of Santa Cruz County. These volunteers have committed to help a child or youth in foster care that has been abused or neglected.
The graduating class on December 4, 2018 also marked the retirement of CASA’s trainer of 11 years, Fred Koehler.
“What I’ve noticed from training over 600 CASA volunteers is that so many of them find helping one vulnerable child in a very difficult situation is a way they can make a real measurable difference in the world. Volunteers helping babies have a voice in court, being a friend to a school-age child or being a mentor to an older youth are all ways to make a real tangible difference. I’ve seen Advocates lives be changed by this process. Watching so many people making a difference in this simple and caring way has opened my heart and has changed my life too.”
195 volunteers have served this year, 230 children and youth in foster care. CASA volunteers devote 2-4 hours a week getting to know one child in foster care, gather information from everyone involved in the child’s life, and are empowered to directly influence life-changing decisions for the child.
Community members who were trained as Court Appointed Special Advocates in 2018 are:
Natalie Alanis, Monica Ambriz, Laurie Barbin, Susan Barisone, Mitchell Barlas, Sam Basinger, Holly Beale, Rachel Beauregard, Bruce Bennett, Isabel Bjork, Cassandra Blom, Peter Brown, Jerome Bullert, Sidney Bundlie, Orlando Calderon, Shawn Coats, Stacey Costello, Julia Crawford, Valeria Daki, Cecilia Diaz, Elizabeth Forrest, Lisa Foy, Michael Geluardi, Christopher Goldstein, Nancy Gordon, RoxyGreenspan, Megan Grewohl, Serena Griffith, Susana Gueye, Lacey Harrison, Laurie Hartsfield, Rosalie Hershberger, John Himelright, Jenny Hundemer, Jenny Im, Jazmin Jauregui, Jennyn Jefferson, Haley Kepler, Nate Koretz, Al Linder, Barbara Lockwood, Ellie Lopez, Michael Loredo, Lyndsey Marks, Lisa Martin, Paiton Matyas, Tammy McBride, Peter McGinn, Corina Mejia, Rebecca Meredith, Hannah Mixter, Damian Musante, Caren Nessen, Anna Niebel, Amy Orlando, Lynne Petrovic, Natalie Pinkerton, Patricia Plascencia, William Rentz, John Rodriguez, Gavin Sandford, Davina Santos, Michael Savage, Jillian Schraeder, Ellen Skolnick, Cynthia Smith Brockman, Christi Suchil, Judith Swan, Rebecca Tas, Vanessa Tomasello, Yvonne Van Leeuwen, Suzanne Williams, and Elizabeth Winder.
Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate can attend an information meeting in January or contact CASA’s Outreach and Recruitment Manager, Cita Rasul, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (831) 761-2956.
Upcoming information meetings are:
- Tuesday, January 8, 10:00 a.m. at CASA, located at 813 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville
- Tuesday, January 8, 6:00 p.m. at Live Oak Family Resource Center, located at 1740 17th Avenue in Santa Cruz
- Wednesday, January 9, 5:30 p.m. at CASA, located at 813 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville
- Thursday, January 10, 2:00 p.m. at The Painted Cork, located at 1129 Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz
- Friday, January 11, 12:00 p.m. at California Coffee, located at 9105 Soquel Drive in Aptos
Pictures include just some of the people listed above. www.casaofsantacruz.org