Stories

Brigit Kubiak:  Hearts of Yolo

Hearts of Yolo: Brigit Kubiak

February 14, 2018

Brigit Kubiak is a retired school counselor. She lives in Davis with her husband. They have a daughter, a grandson, and a granddaughter. Brigit heard about Yolo County CASA from someone in a swim class she was taking. Given her background in education, she thought it sounded like something with which she could make an impact. “I really missed working with kids and helping them work through l...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Mike Rockwell

Hearts of Yolo: Mike Rockwell

February 8, 2018

Mike Rockwell recently retired from the IRS and had learned about Yolo County CASA a while ago. He was no stranger to volunteering—he could often be found helping at his son’s sporting activities or school events—but in retirement he wanted a volunteer role where he could completely immerse himself. He talked to a former board member and decided that CASA was the right place for ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Bridget Gruber

Hearts of Yolo: Bridget Gruber

February 1, 2018

Becoming a mother led Bridget Gruber to Yolo County CASA. “I work in biotech and am an environmentalist and had always volunteered for environmental causes. After having children, I became interested in helping children in need. I noticed CASA on a friend of mine’s LinkedIn page and researched it. I thought it sounded like a great fit for the type of volunteering I wanted to do.”...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ginny Cahill

Hearts of Yolo: Ginny Cahill

January 25, 2018

Ginny Cahill found her calling to be a CASA volunteer through reading Executive Director Tracy Fauver’s monthly column in the local newspaper. “She explained Yolo County CASA’s mission and purpose in such a persuasive way, I knew I needed to become a volunteer someday.” That someday came when Ginny found herself fully retired from her profession as an environmental atto...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Griselda Estrada

Hearts of Yolo: Griselda Estrada

January 18, 2018

A leaf, parking pass, and journal entry mark a break through moment for Griselda Estrada and her CASA youth. “I drove her to Auburn so that we could hike together. At that point, I think she knew I was ‘all in.’ I mean, you don’t drive someone up to Auburn and go on a long hike with them if you don’t want to be invested in a relationship with them. We talked about fut...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Scott Allison

Hearts of Yolo: Scott Allison

January 10, 2018

Last fall, when Scott Allison found himself wondering how he could give more back to his community, CASA was at the top of his mind. “I am good friends with a former and current staff member and my wife is friends with the executive director. I had been considering becoming a CASA volunteer for years and the time felt right.” Scott applied to the training, was accepted, and has had ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Terry East

Hearts of Yolo: Terry East

January 3, 2018

Although, Terry East was born in Picayune, MS, he spent the majority of his childhood in Woodland. He recently returned to Woodland after seeing the world. “I am a fourth generation Woodlander. My family has served in key organizational and volunteer roles for the city and many are in agriculture. It’s nice to be ‘home’ and contributing to the cause.” Terry is a ma...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Michele Browne

Hearts of Yolo: Michele Browne

December 21, 2017

For twenty years, Michele Browne worked first as a veterinary nurse and then as an ER nurse. Now in her retirement she takes care of rescue dogs. In fact, she has taken care of around 250. A caretaker at heart, Michele is always looking for ways to help, but Yolo County CASA seemed to find her. “I have an autistic son and have advocated for him for years. He is now 22 and my daughter is 1...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kirsten Ferries

Hearts of Yolo: Kirsten Ferries

December 21, 2017

Kirsten Ferries is a nurturer through and through. She worked as a special needs teacher early in her career, and then went to business school and worked in fundraising for nonprofits after that. In addition to having a family of her own, she has been teaching meditation and restorative yoga for the past ten years, and also volunteers with Women’s Empowerment in Sacramento. Frustrated by...
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Hearts of Yolo:  The Hallmark Inn

Hearts of Yolo: The Hallmark Inn

December 14, 2017

The Youmans family, owners of Hallmark Properties, are again hosting a giving tree for Yolo County CASA in the lobby of the Hallmark Inn in Davis. Susan and Reed Youmans are long-time supporters of Yolo County CASA and their past “Hearts of Yolo” profile can be read here. This year, they have a special story to share. Susan states, “We were at a dinner a few weeks ago, and ra...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Dr. Tan's office

Hearts if Yolo: Dr. Tan's Office

December 7, 2017

ThisHearts of Yolo story is a very special compilation of quotes from Dr. Tan’s office. Please read the profile we did last holiday season about Dr. Tan here and enjoy the quotes from his staff below! "I'm so proud that our office continues to host the CASA Giving Tree. These gifts can make such an impact on the lives of the children who receive them. I love watching our patie...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Satyen Bhatia

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Satyen Bhatia

November 30, 2017

Satyen Bhatia came arrived in Yolo County three years ago to attend school at UC Davis. He saw a few posts about Yolo County CASA on Facebook and thought it sounded like a great organization to be a part of. Additionally, he worked for the Davis Vanguard, a local publication with a legal slant. He had heard through his work there about the challenges foster children face. He applied to the trainin...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Trina McMorrow

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Trina McMorrow

November 16, 2017

Trina Breuner McMorrow arrived in Yolo County about 20 years ago due to a job transfer. She and her then young family chose Davis as their new home town. At the time, Trina worked as a healthcare attorney, and earlier in life, as a nurse. Trina liked her ability to help people in each of these positions, but scaled back after several years to spend more time with her children. Trina has worked...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Ashley Snee Giovannettone

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Ashley Snee Giovannettone

November 9, 2017

Ashley Snee Giovannettone discovered Yolo County CASA when she was looking for ways to help foster children. Ashley has two young children of her own and works as a consultant. Despite her busy life, she has always felt called to help. “My husband and I have talked about becoming foster parents someday, but right now being a CASA volunteer is where I am concentrating my energy.” Ash...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kelly Lynn Jordan

Hearts of Yolo: Kelly Lynn Jordan

November 2, 2017

Kelly Lynn Jordan, owner of KLJ studios at 424 First Street in Woodland, is passionate about instilling confidence in people through photography. Born and raised in Woodland, Kelly lived in Los Angeles for 12 years photographing musicians. She returned to Woodland a few years ago to raise her family close to relatives. “I believe in multigenerational support and I wanted my daughter to grow...
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Hearts of Yolo:  John Morelli

Hearts of Yolo: John Morelli

October 25, 2017

John Morelli has dedicated his life to mentoring youth in various ways. Born and raised in Woodland, he was a junior high and high school teacher in the Woodland Joint Unified School District for 38 years. He became a CASA volunteer at the urging of Judge Basha. “My wife and I would run into Judge Basha in church and he kept suggesting that I become a CASA volunteer. I was intrigued and wen...
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Heats of Yolo:  Erica Levich

Hearts of Yolo: Erica Levich

October 19, 2017

Erica Levich knew she wanted to give back after a visit with a friend who volunteered in a nursing home. “She was doing something very hands on to make a difference and give back to her local community and I wanted to do the same. I began searching online for ways to help teens and Yolo County CASA came up. The headquarters also happened to be a few blocks from where I live. I applied and wa...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Steve Adams

Hearts of Yolo: Steve Adams

October 12, 2017

Steve Adams arrived in Davis 27 years ago to attend law school and launch a second career. Now with two grown children, and after practicing environmental law with several state agencies, he found Yolo County CASA as he was looking to give back in retirement. “A colleague of mine highly recommended the program, as well as the mother of one of my daughter’s friends. My wife was also fa...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Monique Sraws

Hearts of Yolo: Monique Sraws

October 5, 2017

Monique Straws and her twin sister, Sharique were born addicted to heroin and cocaine. Through the years, she and her sister were placed in several different foster homes, sometimes together, but most often apart. In fact, they were only placed together twice before the age of ten, and were not placed together after that. “My childhood memories centered around a lot of loneliness and indepen...
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Caitlin Buggy:  Hearts of Yolo

Caitlin Buggy: Hearts of Yolo

September 28, 2017

Caitlin Buggy has always had a heart for children in need. She has worked as a counselor in a children’s shelter and now works as a pediatric ICU nurse. She is also attending UC Davis to get her Master’s degree in nursing administration. She has always known about CASA and felt a calling to become more involved. A year ago, she recruited her mom, Ann Buggy, to apply to the CASA trainin...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Berenice Ceja

Hearts of Yolo: Berenice Ceja

September 21, 2017

Berenice Ceja moved to Yolo County a few years ago to attend college at UC Davis. She heard about Yolo County CASA through an organization she was a part of and felt compelled to apply to be a CASA volunteer. “I had moved to Davis from the Bay Area and was actively looking for impactful ways to get involved in my new community.” Berenice was accepted to the CASA training and about ...
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Hearts of Yolo Update:  Karen Selby

Hearts of Yolo Update: Karen Selby

September 14, 2017

1) Can you describe a moment that stands out to you as a CASA volunteer? "A special moment that stands out to me in my relationship with my CASA child is one that happened in a recent visit.For the two years that I have had my CASA child, we've gotten along well, but during this particular visit I experienced a definite feeling of trust and connection with him.He seemed to relax in a n...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Samantha Smith

Hearts of Yolo: Samantha Smith

September 7, 2017

With aMaster’s Degree in public health and a background in nonprofit program evaluation, a yearning to have more direct involvement in the service work of nonprofit organizations led Samantha Smith to Yolo County CASA. “I wanted to be hands-on and helping people every day. When I heard about an opening on staff as an advocate supervisor at Yolo County CASA, I immediately applied. Each ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Elliot Jones

Hearts of Yolo: Elliot Jones

August 31, 2017

Elliot Jones graduated from college at the peak of the Great Recession. Jobs in his fields of interest were scant, so Elliot turned to volunteering to get experience on his resume. Knowing he wanted to be an attorney or a social worker, a Google search led him to CASA. He did not know it then, but his work as a CASA volunteer would spark a passion. Elliot began seeing his current CASA youth...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Eileen Allen

Hearts of Yolo: Eileen Allen

August 24, 2017

Eileen Allen followed her calling to become a CASA volunteer when she retired a little over a year ago. “I learned about Yolo County CASA in the Davis Enterprise and knew that I wanted to become a volunteer someday.” Today, Eileen serves two toddlers through her role as a CASA volunteer. “I absolutely love spending time with two adorable, small children who are now beginning to t...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Casie Chavarria-Hiett

Hearts of Yolo: Casie Chavarria-Hiett

August 11, 2017

Casie Chavarria-Hiett has always loved helping those in need, especially children. She works as a paraprofessional educator at the Woodland school district and also works as an in-home support person. She has three children of her own. Casie has always wanted to be a foster parent someday. In fact, when she was a little girl, it’s what she told her mom she wanted to do. Casie’s cous...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ann Cassidy-Stone

Hearts of Yolo: Ann Cassidy-Stone

August 10, 2017

Ann Cassidy-Stone became interested CASA over fifteen years ago when she heard about it from a friend. After she retired in 2012and her three children were grown, she felt the time was right. She went through the training that spring and is now on her third CASA assignment. She discusses a moment with her CASA child that impacted her. “My current CASA child is in a great home where she i...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ann Buggy

Hearts of Yolo: Ann Buggy

August 3, 2017

Ann Durant-Buggy recently moved from Stockton to Davis with her husband. “My husband and two of my children all attended UC Davis so we thought it would be a great place to eventually retire.” When she moved, she was also looking for a volunteer cause. “I heard about CASA many years ago because my aunt was a CASA volunteer and then a guardian ad litem. At the time, I had young ch...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Joy and John Schutzman

Hearts of Yolo: Joy and John Schutzman

July 27, 2017

For six years, two of which involved fertility treatments, Joy Schutzman and her husband, John, tried without success to conceive children. Then, their lives took a turn they never could have predicted. “A close friend of mine called me to ask if I wanted to attend a foster care awareness event. I immediately called my husband who also thought it was a good idea. We just went in full boar fr...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Carol Brummerstedt

Hearts of Yolo: Carol Brummerstedt

July 20, 2017

Carol Brummerstedt moved to Yolo County six years ago from Berkeley after taking care of her mother before her passing. Her husband had been doing business in Sacramento and her daughter was also living in the area so it seemed like a great fit. So did becoming a CASA volunteer. “I first heard about CASA because a good friend of mine in the Bay Area was a CASA volunteer. The time wasn&rs...
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Hearts of Yolo Update:  Jeannette Lejardi

Hearts of Yolo Update: Jeannette Lejardi

July 13, 2017

Last yearwe profiled Jeannette Lejardi, one of our incredible CASA volunteers. Today we are excited to share an update about herexperiences as a CASAvolunteer this past year. 1) Can you describe a special moment that stands out to you as a CASA volunteer? I have been involved with my CASA youth for six years, first as a CASA volunteer and then as a mentor. We first talked about college when ...
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Hearts of Yolo: Nicholas Kory

Hearts of Yolo: Nicholas Kory

July 6, 2017

Nicholas Kory leads a busy life. He is studying computer science and engineering at UC Davis and works full-time as a programmer analyst. He first heard about Yolo County CASA through a sorority fundraiser on campus. “I was at a time in my life where I really wanted to volunteer to focus my energy into something meaningful, impactful, and hands on.” Five years later, Nicholas has ha...
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Hearts of Yolo Update:  Lori Ross

Hearts of Yolo Update: Lori Ross

June 29, 2017

Last yearwe profiled Lori Ross, one of our incredible CASA volunteers. Today we are excited to share an update about herexperiences as a CASAvolunteer this past year. 1) Can you describe a special moment that stands out to you as a CASA volunteer? I've been with my CASA child for over five years. Her father has been incarcerated for most of that time. He was transported to be at one of h...
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Hearts of Yolo Update:  Holly Wong

Hearts of Yolo Update: Holly Wong

June 22, 2017

Last yearwe profiled Holly Wong, one of our incredible CASA volunteers. Today we are excited to share an update about her experiences as a CASAvolunteer this past year. 1) Please describe a recent special moment that stands out to you as a CASA volunteer: My favorite moment came recently when my CASA child and I sat down to plan our summer activities together. She is so excited to spend time...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Christina Horne

Hearts of Yolo: Christina Horne

June 15, 2017

Christina Horne studied early childhood development in college and has worked as a nanny and preschool teacher in the past. Initially, she heard about Yolo County CASA through her work as an office manager at Brooks’ Painting. “I saw that Brooks’ Painting supports Yolo County CASA financially and learned more about the organization. I missed working with children and thought that...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Janet Kappes

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Janet Kappes

June 8, 2017

Board Member Janet Kappes has never shied away from difficult situations. She started her career as a nurse in the ICU and trauma operating room in Dallas, Texas. A Yolo County native, Janet moved back to the area with her husband in 1990. After the move, she began working as an organ transplant coordinator for Golden State Donor Services, eventually becoming the executive director for ten years. ...
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Hearts of Yolo Update:  Claire Tauzer

Hearts of Yolo Update: Claire Tauzer

June 1, 2017

Last yearwe profiled Claire Tauzer, one of our incredible CASA volunteers. Today we are excited to share an update about her experiences as a CASA volunteer this past year. Can you describe a special moment that stands out to you as a CASA volunteer? Eighteen months ago I met a shy kid whose life had just gone through some very drastic changes. As we built our relationship over the past...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Barbara Engel

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Barbara Engel

May 25, 2017

Barbara Engel is no stranger to volunteering. In fact, when she moved to Yolo County because of her husband’s job change, she volunteered for many organizations as she learned the local charitable landscape. A longing to really make an impact led her to Yolo County CASA. “I wanted to find something that produced results and changed outcomes. It seemed like I could do that by volunteeri...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile: Nazzy Pakpour

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Nazzy Pakpour

May 18, 2017

Nazzy Pakpour’s family emigrated to the United States from Iran nearly 35 years ago. As a child, she can trace many of her own accomplishments back to mentorship. As such, she has always felt strongly about giving back, especially to youth advocacy. When she was working as a post doc at UC Davis, she began volunteering with the Guardian Scholars, a program for former foster and transitional ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Dorothy

Hearts of Yolo: Dorothy

May 11, 2017

Dorothy and her brother’s life changed drastically when her father got sick. “My father couldn’t take care of us anymore and my mother lived across the country, unable to take custody.” Dorothy is now 18, but has been in foster care for several years. When she was first placed into foster care, her own interests were the furthest thing from her mind. “I promised my li...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Maria Elena Martinez

Hearts of Yolo: Maria Elena Martinez

April 13, 2017

Maria Elena Martinez has a long history of helping people. She’s worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years helping families access resources to improve life situations, and as a counselor for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She currently works as an advocate supervisor at Yolo County CASA and is also a CASA volunteer. “I’d worked with victims of domestic...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Seetha Reddy

Hearts of Yolo: Seetha Reddy

April 6, 2017

Seetha Reddy heard about Yolo County CASA through a colleague and felt called to become one when the time was right. “When my daughter left for college, I knew I would have the time that I wanted to devote to being a CASA volunteer. I was very excited when I was accepted into the training.” Three years later, Seetha has had three different CASA children. With each of her CASA children,...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Lesley May

Hearts of Yolo: Lesley May

March 30, 2017

When Lesley May’s children were 9, 11, 16 and 19, she noticed an article in the paper recruiting CASA volunteers. “Clearly I was busy, but it just struck me as something I would really like to do.” Nearly a decade later, she has helped three different foster children through her role as a CASA volunteer. As Lesley reflects on being a CASA, she thinks back to her very first cas...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Spring Warren

Hearts of Yolo: Spring Warren

March 23, 2017

When Spring Warren worked as a teacher, she often wondered what it would be like to focus on just one child who truly needed it. The answer came when she saw a newspaper ad. “I kept seeing a newspaper ad pop up in the Winters Express about becoming a CASA volunteer. I wanted to do it but worried about not having the time or the skills. Eventually I ignored the fear and just picked up the pho...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Courtney Prado

Hearts of Yolo: Courtney Prado

March 16, 2017

Courtney Prado likes to help in emergency situations. For many years, she worked in the veterinary field, helping animals and their owners through critical health problems. In college, she knew she wanted to pursue a field that aligned with her passion for helping others. She is currently completing her sociology degree at UC Davis and plans to pursue her law degree about a year after she graduate...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ashley Olstad

Hearts of Yolo: Ashley Olstad

March 9, 2017

Ashley Olstad is a protective services officer for the UC Davis police department and also runs her family’s pumpkin patch, Bobby Dazzler’s Pumpkin Patch between Davis and Woodland. She has a daughter of her own and is a single mother. Despite her busy schedule she felt a calling to be a CASA volunteer for many years. “I was intimidated by the time commitment at first but I final...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kendra Shapiro

Hearts of Yolo: Kendra Shapiro

March 2, 2017

From a young age, Kendra Shapiro understood the importance of a stable, positive relationship. “When I was growing up I had to go live with a cousin I had only met once as my mother recovered from addiction. He ended up being one of the best role models in my life and continued to help me even after I went back to live with my mom. If it weren’t for him, my life would be a lot differen...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille

Hearts of Yolo: Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille

February 23, 2017

Yolo County CASA Board Member Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille knows all too well the adversity that foster children face through her over 30 years working as an educational psychologist. One experience really stands out to her. “I began working with a teenage boy who had been in foster care for many years. You could see through his grades and attendance that his life was really thrown off course...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Jeannette Lejardi

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Jeannette Lejardi

July 28, 2016

In 1999 Jeannette Lejardi moved from Lodi to Davis, searching for a better school district for her boys who were in third and fifth grade. She ended up finding so much more. An attorney by trade, Jeannette is involved in many activities that make Yolo County a better place. She was a founding member of the Yolo Conflict Resolution Center, an organization providing conflict resolution strategies...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Karen Selby

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Karen Selby

July 21, 2016

A tragic life event of her own inspired Karen Selby to help others who were also going through tragic life events. “In 2012, I was widowed after 40 years of marriage when my husband passed away from lung cancer. I prayed for a job, but not a traditional job… something that was different and impactful.” An article in the paper recruiting CASAs and seeking host families for exc...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile: Muvvie Marks

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Muvvie Marks

July 7, 2016

A registered nurse, Muvvie Marks has always had a caring heart. One of six children, Muvvie married in 1963 and went on to have six children of her own. She and her husband, Steve, now have 21 grandchildren. “Children’s voices and laughter are just a way of life for me. I can’t imagine how quiet the world would be without them.” In addition her career as a nurse, Muvvie als...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile: Georgia Corbett

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Georgia Corbett

June 30, 2016

In 1997, Georgia Corbett asked herself “What’s next?” and we’re glad her answer was to become a Yolo County CASA volunteer. Georgia first arrived in Davis to attend college, and except for the year she went away to receive her Master’s degree in educationof exceptional children, she has remained in Davis ever since. For years, she worked with children who were deaf...
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