Mission Moment: Chris’ Story

Mission Moment: Chris’ Story

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a compassionate heart. I was always wanting to help someone who appeared to be having a hard time in life. As a naïve child, I simply felt like humans weren’t supposed to suffer and should be living with the same comforts and securities that I enjoyed.  As unrealistic as my thinking was during those early years, it set a foundation and generated the impetus that fuels my desire to give back to and serve the underprivileged of our society.

As an adult, I understand the complex set of circumstances that are involved in poverty, and homelessness, especially among children and teens.  My awareness of these situations is a factor in why I became a CASA.  Also, I have to say that I am impressed and grateful to Judge David Soukup for his intuitiveness and the proactive measures he put in place to address the issues of youth who find themselves in foster care due to no fault of their own.  These ideas, and CASA’s mission to ensure that the best interests of the child are always put first, are guide stones that inform and inspire me in creative ways when interacting with the youth I advocate for.

It’s extremely rewarding to be able to channel my compassion and desire to help my youth through CASA’s Journey of Hope program.  The three years that I’ve been an advocate have challenging but always rewarding as I have seen tremendous growth in my “kiddo”, a term of endearment I call the youth I advocate for.  When we were first introduced, I couldn’t get a word out of him.  He would only respond with sounds and nods.  Through patience, persistence, and a journey of trust building, we are now having conversations about what he wants his future to look like.  There are still days where he will resist communication, but what I’ve noticed is that those days are few and far between, and for me, they’re much better than nods and sighs.  Ultimately, I have a lot of confidence that he will be just fine in life and because of my commitment, I plan on being his support pillar for as long as it takes.

Voices of Hope Award Recipients

Voices of Hope Award Recipients

Our chance to encourage, inspire, and thank all our advocates for all that they do. Awards are given to specific individuals who, through their child advocacy, made a positive difference in the life of a foster youth by giving them a voice that matters.

2021 Voices of Hope Winners

Advocate Volunteers
Steve Merrill
Leslie Booth
Jean Hand
Advocate Partnership
Kaleena Goodman and Hector Cerda
Advocate of the Year
Wendy Yribarren
CASA CARES Award
Sandy Bailey
Maureen Lewis Business Partnership Award Winner:
McGaughy’s Suspensions – Owners, Steve and Michelle McGaughy

2020 Voices of Hope Winners.

Advocate Volunteers
Esther Sanchez
Michelle Helmer
Advocate Partnership
Karen Semas
Alejandra Avila
Advocate of the Year
Melanie Welch
Maureen Lewis Business Partnership Award Winner
California Dingo Media – Owner, David Schlotterback

Meet our New Staff!

Meet our New Staff!

Meet our New Staff!

Rebecca Johnson comes to CASA from the Fresno Chamber and will serve as the new Resource Coordinator. During her time with the Chamber, she was in charge of the Leadership Fresno Program, produced events, assisted with communications and managed development efforts. She is a passionate advocate of the work CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties does and a big believer in the mission.

Our new Outreach Coordinator is Lisa RochaDanks has a long history with our organization! While she comes to CASA from the private sector as a Sales Manager for Stellar Solar Inc., she has previous experience as a CASA Advocate, Program Coordinator and Resource Parent. Additionally, Lisa has over twenty years of experience in the field of human resources. Coming back to serve for Fresno and Madera Counties is like coming home and she is honored to join the team!