Stories

Hearts of Yolo:  Judith Plank

Hearts of Yolo: Judith Plank

December 13, 2018

Judith Plank never had children of her own but always felt a calling to help children. She felt that calling, coupled with her professional background as a counselor made her a great fit for the CASA program. “I’ve known about CASA for years and the time was right this year to make an impact. I’ve had my CASA child since August.” Judith’s CASA child is a four year-...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Tan Orthodontics

Hearts of Yolo:  Tan Orthodontics

December 6, 2018

Dr. Alan Tan, one of our founding board members is at it again. Each year, he hosts a “Giving Tree” holding the holiday wishes of 115 foster children. Here is his Hearts of Yolo profile from years past and we’ve posted the press release about the Giving Tree below. Thank you, Tan Orthodontics for your generosity and long-time support! TAN ORTHODONTICS HOSTS ANNUAL YOLO COU...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Dolores Drummond

Hearts of Yolo: Dolores Drummond

November 29, 2018

As one of eleven children, Dolores Drummond knows it takes a village to raise a child. “My parents taught us compassion and great morals, but when you grow up with ten siblings, sometimes there isn’t enough parent to go around. There were neighbors, teachers, friends and employers who influenced my life and made a difference in the outcome. I’ve always known that paying it forwar...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Jeff Kunz

Hearts of Yolo: Jeff Kunz

November 15, 2018

Jeff Kunz is no stranger to volunteering. He was highly involved in his children’s activities when they were little and he is now president of the Woodland Kiwanis club. After thirty years in management at AT&T, Jeff is now retired. One night he and his wife were out with Jim and Georgia Corbett and Yolo County CASA came up in the conversation. “Georgia talked about her role on th...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Angela Meusel

Hearts of Yolo: Angela Meusel

November 7, 2018

When Angela Meusel moved to Davis, some friends gave her the Davis Enterprise as a welcome gift. “I kept reading about the opioid crisis and all the kids ending up in foster care because of it and wanted to do something to help. Then I read one of Tracy’s columns about being a CASA, and it seemed like a good fit." Angela has had her CASA child, an elementary school aged boy, si...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Amelia Fenk

Hearts of Yolo: Amelia Fenk

October 31, 2018

Amelia Fenk wasn’t quite old enough to become a CASA volunteer when she first heard about the program. “A Yolo County CASA staff member came to UC Davis to speak about the organization. I majored in Spanish and minored in Education and I have a growing interest in social work. So the mission really called to me.” A few months after Amelia turned 21, she saw an email about Yolo C...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Alma Drabkin

Hearts of Yolo: Alma Drabkin

October 25, 2018

Originally from the Phillipines, Alma Drabkin has called Davis home for the past 12 years. As she was looking to become more involved in the community, she heard about Yolo County CASA from a friend who was a CASA volunteer in Sacramento. Then, her husband saw an article in the newspaper and she decided to apply. “Service has always been important to me. When I worked as an attorney, I alway...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Stephanie Ciganovich

Hearts of Yolo: Stephanie Ciganovich

October 18, 2018

Stephanie Ciganovich first heard about Yolo County CASA fifteen years ago and knew she eventually wanted to volunteer, but at the time she was too young. “The mission just really called to me, even at that young age.” Stephanie is now in her early thirties and is a criminal justice major at Woodland Community College. When she read an ad in the local paper that Yolo County CASA was rec...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Connie Campos

Hearts of Yolo: Connie Campos

October 11, 2018

When Connie Campos found out she could not have children of her own, she became certified to be a foster parent. However, shortly after becoming certified, she learned that circumstances would not allow her to be a foster parent at that time. Connie remembered finding out about Yolo County CASA as she was researching the foster care system and there happened to be an upcoming training. She applied...
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Heart of Yolo:  Norma DeLiberty

Hearts of Yolo: Norma DeLiberty

October 4, 2018

When Norma DeLiberty was looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity in retirement, it was her husband who planted the seed about Yolo County CASA. “My husband worked in mental health and has always spoken highly of CASA and the positive outcomes it produces for foster children.” She went through the training a year ago and has advocated for an elementary school-aged girl for ni...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Yolo County Community

Hearts of Yolo: Yolo County Community

September 27, 2018

Thank you, Yolo County, for Creating 104 More Opportunities for Foster Kids All photo credit: Kelly Lynn Jordan, KLJ Studios On September 9, 2018, Yolo County CASA hosted its annual dinner and auction. The event, Yolo County CASA’s largest annual fundraiser, raised enough money to provide 104 children in our foster care system with a CASA volunteer. “We are again reminded of the ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Nancy Agee

Hearts of Yolo: Nancy Agee

September 19, 2018

Nancy Agee was inspired by her own childhood experiences to become a CASA volunteer. “My family moved to Davis when I was entering 4th grade. I was chubby and freckle-faced, and as I got older, I became the subject of a lot of bullying, particularly when I moved on to junior high. Once a group of boys even followed me home and threw rocks at me.” There were a couple of teachers at Holm...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kris Borowsky

Hearts of Yolo: Kris Borowsky

September 13, 2018

Kris Borowsky loves children. When she and her husband first moved to Davis in 2001, she was doing communications consulting for a benefits consulting firm. But shortly after, she found her calling at Swim America in Davis. “I started teaching swimming lessons at Swim America, and then put my communications background to work as the marketing director. The rest is history.” With tw...
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Hearts of Yolo:  John Martin

Hearts of Yolo: John Martin

September 6, 2018

John Martin and his partner, Rafael Galiano, always dreamed of having a country property. "We lived in San Francisco for over ten years and saw an ad for the property one day. We got in the car and drove to what we thought was the ‘new frontier’ as we didn’t often venture out of San Francisco. We immediately fell in love with it and knew it was where we needed to be.” ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Andrea Mayer

Hearts of Yolo: Andrea Mayer

August 30, 2018

Andrea Mayer has lived in Yolo County for over two decades and loves her community. “I am a land use planner and my husband is a consultant for a statewide nonprofit. We also are growers and producers in an Olive Oil business and we just love the Yolo County Community.” In fact, it was the sense of community that drew Andrea to Yolo County CASA. “Board Member Susan Lovenburg firs...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Jamie Madison

Hearts of Yolo: Jamie Madison

August 23, 2018

Jamie Madison is a Davisite through and through. “My parents were among the first professors to work at UC Davis when it became its own university. In fact, they were among a group of PhD’s from Cornell who all drove across the country together to start working at UC Davis.” After enjoying her childhood in Davis, Jamie made it her career to welcome others to her favorite town...
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Hearts of Yolo special

Hearts of Yolo Special

August 9, 2018

Last week, while Executive Director Tracy Fauver was on vacation in Maine, she visited former foster youth D, her brother Marcus (also a former foster youth) and their aunt and Grandmother. Last week we featured Marcus' CASA's storyand D's story is featured here. We are so grateful for our incredible #heartsofyolo community. We hope you enjoyed this "full circle" moment as mu...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Vita Salmieri

Hearts of Yolo: Vita Salmieri

August 2, 2018

Vita Salmieri is no stranger to volunteering. She is a Rotarian, Soroptomist, and OddFellow and spends a lot of her free time giving back. In fact, it was through her Rotary club that she heard about Yolo County CASA. “The Executive Director at the time came and talked to my Rotary club about Yolo County CASA and I thought it sounded like a great way to give back in my retirement. I a...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Cathy Hackett

Hearts of Yolo: Cathy Hackett

July 25, 2018

Cathy Hackett first heard about Yolo County CASA through Board Member Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille when their kids played soccer together. “She used to talk about her board position with Yolo County CASA and the mission of the organization just really struck me. I’ve always known it’s an organization I want to support.” Cathy currently works in the North Davis Elementar...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Jean Tugadi

Hearts of Yolo: Jean Tugadi

July 19, 2018

Jean Tugadi was inspired to be a CASA volunteer by her own life experiences. “I had my daughter when I was in high school. I was really inspired by the social worker who worked with me at that time. In fact, she inspired me to go back to school as my daughter got older and I just graduated from UC Davis with a degree in both sociology and psychology. I’ve always known I want to give ba...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Shelton Yip

Hearts of Yolo: Shelton Yip

July 12, 2018

Shelton Yip has had a long career in education. He started teaching special education over forty years ago, then worked as a school counselor, then became a school principal, and then worked in administration at both the Napa County and Sacramento City Unified School districts. He now sits on the Yolo County Board of Education. “All throughout my career I worked with CASA volunteers and I re...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Chris Thomas

Hearts of Yolo: Chris Thomas

July 5, 2018

Before she retired, Chris Thomas was a teacher for over 30 years. “I am no stranger to kids who are struggling and I knew in my retirement that I wanted to do something to give back to kids in need.” When Chris retired, she immediately thought of Yolo County CASA. “A dear friend I’ve known since childhood is a foster parent and was very familiar with the CASA organization. ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Karen Slinkard

Hearts of Yolo: Karen Slinkard

June 28, 2018

Karen Slinkard first became familiar with the dependency system when one of her children’s friends was taken into custody by Child Protective Services while she was visiting Karen’s daughter at her house. “It’s hard to talk about that experience even today but it made me acutely aware of what some kids go through. Ever since then, I knew I’d help children in the depen...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Make It Happen Yolo

Hearts of Yolo: Make it Happen Yolo

June 21, 2018

Make It Happen for Yolo County is an incredible story about caring people who came together to fill a need and are now making an impact on the lives of many transitional aged foster youth. Jan Judson, a nurse practitioner has always felt called to help foster youth. “I would have foster youth come see me and sometimes medical records could not be located. There was also a real sense of lo...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Sara Plaughter

Hearts of Yolo: Sarah Plaughter

June 14, 2018

Inspired by her own calling to adopt a child someday, Sarah Plaughter heard about Yolo County CASA through a friend who suggested she try becoming a CASA volunteer to get more familiar with the dependency system. A few years later, Sarah was reminded about Yolo County CASA by her cousin who had heard about it in a college class. "I had been waiting for the right time to become a CASA voluntee...
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Hearts of Yolo: Daisy Ruiz

Hearts of Yolo: Daisy Ruiz

June 7, 2018

Daisy Ruiz is currently a student at UC Davis studying sociology and psychology with a minor in Chicano studies. She hopes to one day become a social worker. She discovered Yolo County CASA at a career fair at UC Davis, and decided that becoming a CASA volunteer would be a great way both to give back and get a preview of what it might be like to be a social worker. “I was really eage...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Cecelia Thornton

Hearts of Yolo: Cecelia Thornton

May 30, 2018

Cecelia Thornton is a therapist in Sacramento who believes that everyone has a unique gift to share with others. She participates in CASA trainings by helping prospective CASA volunteers understand the effects of addiction on family members. She came upon this expertise after over a decade of specialized experience. “I spent 10 years working with addiction and recovery at CommuniCare Hea...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Michelle Hahn

Hearts of Yolo: Michelle Hahn

May 24, 2018

Michelle Hahn spent 14 years as a high-tech engineering and management professional before following her calling to become a family law attorney. For many reasons, Yolo County CASA is close to Michelle Hahn’s heart. She is no stranger to child protective services cases and custody disputes. “In law school I worked in law clinics for two years, helping families who didn’t have the...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kim Eichorn

Hearts of Yolo: Kim Eichorn

May 17, 2018

Kim Eichorn is born and raised in Davis and has been a local realtor for over two decades. “I love the Davis community and have had the privilege of getting to know many of its members through my profession, volunteer, and philanthropic work.” Kim is a long-time philanthropist, and she is drawn to Yolo County CASA because of its mission to provide advocacy and role models to childre...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Michelle Millet

Hearts of Yolo: Michelle Millet

May 10, 2018

Michelle Millet is no stranger to volunteering. She has chaired the Natural Resources Commission for the City of Davis, and has been on the Board of Davis Parent Nursery School, Bike Davis, and Explorit Science Center. She became aware of Yolo County CASA online. “The Hearts of Yolo stories kept coming up on my Facebook newsfeed and I really thought I could make a difference for a child who ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Roxanne Rice

Hearts of Yolo: Roxanne Rice

April 26, 2018

A retired teacher and then administrator of 26 years, Roxanne Rice has always felt a connection with at-risk youths. “Really, all youths are at-risk, but some are more in need than others. After being in the school system for nearly three decades, I know how much at-risk youths like those in the dependency system benefit from extra time and attention.” Roxanne first heard about Yolo...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Megan Martinez

Hearts of Yolo: Megan Martinez

April 20, 2018

Born and raised in Yolo County, Megan Martinez always wanted to give back to her community. When Megan heard about Yolo County CASA as a human development major at UC Davis, she was intrigued. “I noticed Yolo County CASA online through social media and I also had a friend who was involved in the organization. I’ve always wanted to work with children so it seemed like the perfect way to...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Genevieve Virden

Hearts of Yolo: Genevieve Virden

April 6, 2018

Genevieve Virden majored in social work because she wanted to devote her career to making a difference for people in need. “I met with a professor whotaught about the child welfare system and was sold. I took a bunch of child welfare policy classes. I loved the program and had lots of opportunities to work with at-risk students. Beyond that, I tutored in high school and worked in summer camp...
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Hears of Yolo:  Brian Buckley

Hearts of Yolo: Brian Buckley

April 5, 2018

Brian Buckley arrived in California a year and a half ago when his wife accepted a faculty position at UC Davis. Originally from Connecticut, he had spent the past 11 years working for the Connecticut Department of Social Services. “My degree is in criminal justice and I’ve always had a passion for people going through tough times. Lots of things happen in this world that aren&rsq...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kara Marsh-Armstrong

Hearts of Yolo: Kara Marsh-Armstrong

March 28, 2018

A calling to help children has shaped Kara Marsh-Armstrong’s journey to becoming both an advocate supervisor and CASA volunteer. For the first two decades of her career, Kara was a biotech patent attorney. Then, a desire to work with children led her to pursue her Master’s degree in special education and become a teacher. “I worked with smart children who had diagnoses li...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Julie Langston

Hearts of Yolo: Julie Langston

March 22, 2018

Julie Langston is a pediatric nurse practitioner and her current job is in forensic assault patient care. She once worked at a clinic for foster children and became familiar with the system both through that work and through adopting their own son from the foster care system. Julie has always felt that foster kids should have a strong voice during a time in their lives that is tumultuous and un...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Katherine Hess

Hearts of Yolo: Katherine Hess

March 15, 2018

Katherine Hess learned about Yolo County CASA in her Soroptimist club. “We had donated to Yolo County CASA’s programs and one of my fellow Soroptimists was also a CASA volunteer. I was moved by the mission and vision of the organization.” Katherine Hess works in planning for the City of Davis. She is starting to “ease into thinking” about retirement but did not wan...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Bob Lawson

Hearts of Yolo: Bob Lawson

March 8, 2018

Bob Lawson was inspired to become a CASA volunteer by his wife,Carol Lawson. “I had been retired for a year and a half and had settled on one volunteer position but was searching for another meaningful project to do on a volunteer basis. When I heard about Yolo County CASA, I just felt called.” Bob has been a CASA volunteer to a 14-year old male for about a year. “At first I...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Carol Lawson

Hearts of Yolo: Carol Lawson

March 1, 2018

When Carol Lawson’s youngest daughter headed to college, she felt the time was right to become a CASA volunteer. “I had heard about the organization over the years in the newspaper and then again at a UC Davis retirement event. I knew I would do it someday and the time felt right.” Before retirement, Carol worked at UC Davis. She holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree fro...
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Hearts of Yolo:  John Hess

Hearts of Yolo: John Hess

February 22, 2018

John Hess was recruited to be a CASA volunteer by his wife who heard about the organization in her Soroptimist club. “She really wanted to become a CASA volunteer and thought it would be something we could do together. The rest is history.” John was immediately impressed with what he learned in training. “My professional background is in science so learning about the juvenile jus...
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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:  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:  Peter Pascoe

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Peter Pascoe

February 16, 2017

Peter Pascoe arrived in Yolo County when he became a professor of veterinary anesthesiology at UC Davis. Around the same time, Yolo County CASA was just forming, and Peter’s late wife, Roz Pascoe, became one of the first Yolo County CASA volunteers. “She was part of the second CASA training in Yolo County.” Roz continued her volunteer work as a CASA for ten years. “We ha...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Susanne Ramalia

Hearts of Yolo: Susanne Ramalia

February 9, 2017

Suzanne Ramalia recently moved back to Yolo County and found her volunteer calling when she was driving home from her job at the Yolo County Sheriff’s office. “I was listening to NPR and someone from the national CASA organization was being interviewed. I thought it was a wonderful idea and I called the Yolo County chapter to become more involved. They were in the middle of a training ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Jordan Trezona

Hearts of Yolo: Jordan Trezona

February 2, 2017

Jordan Trezona has always been altruistic. He is a premed student at UC Davis and works at Children’s Hospital of Oakland as an orthopedic technician. When Jordan transferred to UC Davis for college, he immediately started looking for volunteer opportunities. “The campus hosted a volunteer fair and Yolo County CASA was the last booth I stopped by. I talked to Ben Cadranel and Nancy Pac...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Liz Heckles

Hearts of Yolo: Liz Heckles

January 24, 2017

Liz Heckles is no stranger to solving problems. With a professional background as a consultant and an agricultural compliance coordinator, she regularly puts together many puzzle pieces to meet a common goal. “I have a passion for bringing resources together in tangible ways.” Shortly after moving to the area, Liz attended a Yolo County CASA event at Park Winters. At this event, Exe...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Reed and Susan Youmans

Hearts of Yolo: Reed and Susan Youmans

January 17, 2017

Susan and Reed Youmans were introduced to Yolo County CASA over two decades ago by dear friends. “We were invited to Yolo County CASA’s annual auction and dinner and we were deeply moved by Yolo County CASAs mission. We’ve been supporters ever since,” states Susan Youmans. Many know the Youmans family as owners of the Hallmark Properties in Northern California. What many...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Project Linus of Yolo County

Hearts of Yolo: Project Linus of Yolo County

January 5, 2017

Project Linus of Yolo County has a simple but important mission. They work “to provide a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill,traumatized, or otherwise in need through gifts of new, handmade blankets lovingly created by volunteer blanketeers.” The Yolo County chapter of Project Linus was originally started by Diane McGee and Ann Shannon as part of...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Dr. Alan Tan

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Dr. Alan Tan

December 23, 2016

Dr. Alan Tan of Tan Orthodontics specializes in smiles—both for his patients and for foster children in Yolo County. Dr. Tan first heard of Yolo County CASA when Vicki Murphy introduced him to the organization. “Vicki was a good friend of my treatment coordinator and thought I would be a good fit for the board of directors. When I learned the mission of the organization, it was an easy...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Janell Quesada

Hearts of Yolo: Janell Quesada

December 22, 2016

Janell Quesada has always known about Yolo County CASA. As her own children got older, she had more time to commit to being a volunteer. “I wanted to be a part of Yolo County CASA ten years ago when I first heard about it but I had a lot of commitments with my young children and work. About a year ago, I was at a time in my life where it just felt right.” After completing the traini...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Joyce Henning

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Joyce Henning

December 8, 2016

A cold Iowa winter three years ago was responsible for moving Joyce Henning to Yolo County. “I was on the phone with my niece and she told me it was 68 degrees at her farm in Esparto. With the wind chill, it was 30 degrees below zero in Iowa. I made up my mind then and there that I was going to head west.” After arriving in Yolo County, Joyce began learning about the area and discovere...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Susan Cassady

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Susan Cassady

December 1, 2016

Susan Cassady started her career as a teacher, then became a school principal, and finished her career as director of alternative programs in Yolo County before she retired. As director of alternative schools, Susan worked with a couple of CASAs. She didn’t have time to become a trained CASA then, but remembered the impact CASAs made when she retired and pursued becoming a CASA volunteer. Sh...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Bob Garcia

Hearts of Yolo: Bob Garcia

November 17, 2016

Bob Garcia heard about Yolo County CASA through a friend. As a retired elementary school teacher and principal, Bob knows all too well how much foster children need support. “When a child is suddenly moved out of the home, we see the effects in every aspect of their lives. As a teacher and principal, I witnessed first-hand what happens to a child’s mood, school performance, and overall...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Leilani Duvauchelle

Hearts of Yolo: Leilani Duvauchelle

November 10, 2016

Leilani Duvauchelle is a passionate volunteer. On the side of her full-time job in the student accounting department at UC Davis, she volunteers for Empower Yolo, a local shelter for women and children in danger and crises. She also teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. When Leilani was looking for another way to directly help people, she happened to have a friend in Sacramento wh...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ali Harder

Hearts of Yolo: Ali Harder

November 3, 2016

Ali Harder moved to Yolo County from Oregon in 2012 when she and her husband both found new jobs in the area and Ali planned to go back to school. “I’ve always wanted to work on behalf of children so I am currently going back to school to become a social worker.” Before she moved, Ali was going through the training process in Oregon to become a CASA. “When I arrived in the ...
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Hearts of Yolo: Caitlin Isobe

Hearts of Yolo: Caitlin Isobe

October 24, 2016

Caitlin Isobe was inspired to become more involved in Yolo County CASA after learning about the organization through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. “My sorority supports Yolo County CASA philanthropically and I didn’t want to stop there. I felt connected to the cause and wanted to contribute in other ways.” While Caitlin certainly had a busy life as a college student, she found...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Beth Canevari

Hearts of Yolo: Beth Canevari

October 20, 2016

After Beth Canevari’s two children left for college, she began searching for a cause with which to become more involved. A friend of hers was already involved in Yolo County CASA and encouraged her to give it a try. “As I researched the organization, it seemed like a great volunteer opportunity so I applied for a training.” Nearly seven years later, Beth is still seeing her CASA ...
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Hearts of Yolo: Laura Legacki

Hearts of Yolo: Laura Legacki

October 13, 2016

Laura Legacki made her way to Yolo County to attend school at UC Davis and loved the area so much that she never left. She became an emergency room nurse, and sometimes had pediatric patients that needed to be referred to Child Protective Services. “It was hard not to know what happened next to these patients. As I was looking at ways I could help them more, I found Yolo County CASA.” ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Cindy Burger

Hearts of Yolo: Cindy Burger

October 6, 2016

Cindy Burger is no stranger to the difficult circumstances many foster children face. “I was placed in foster care at five years old and I was moved at least three, maybe four times over the course of a year or so. When I was six, my sister and I were placed together with a wonderful couple. They eventually adopted us and it truly turned my life around. They showed me that people care and co...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Susie Miller

Hearts of Yolo: Susie Miller

September 29, 2016

Susie Miller arrived in Yolo County when her boss recruited her from UCLA to UC Davis to continue the brain research they were working on at the time. “My husband and I immediately loved this community and met many like-minded people through our children, many who remain my dear friends to this day.” One of those friends was Nancy Stephenson and that’s how Susie’s connectio...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Nancy Stephenson

Hearts of Yolo: Nancy Stephenson

September 22, 2016

Nancy Stephenson’s dedication to Yolo County CASA dates back to its origin. A mother of four, she first heard about CASA when her oldest daughter became involved as a volunteer for a CASA chapter on the east coast. “She asked me for help watching her own child when she flew out to attend a CASA conference. Shortly after, I read in the paper that a CASA chapter was forming in Yolo Count...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Jen Boschee-Danzer

Hearts of Yolo: Jen Boschee-Danzer

September 15, 2016

Jen Boschee-Danzer came to Davis thirteen years ago with her family to pursue an advanced degree in sociology at UC Davis, a subject that has driven her career since, “In my studies I became fascinated by the way social circumstances and environments can transform an individual’s life—for better or worse—and I knew that I wanted my professional and volunteer endeavors to be...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Holly Wong

Hearts of Yolo: Holly Wong

September 8, 2016

Holly Wong’s life changed forever when she was just three days old. “I was adopted by incredible parents when I was just three days old and over the years I’ve become more and more aware of how lucky I was to be adopted into a wonderful family with incredible support. Many other children are put into vulnerable situations and don’t have the support and resources I received....
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Hearts of Yolo:  Susan Lovenburg

Hearts of Yolo: Susan Lovenburg

September 1, 2016

A 19-year residence of Davis, Susan Lovenburg has always been attracted to children’s and educational causes. Since 2007, Susan has served on the Davis School Board. Prior to that, she was a long-time parent volunteer in the school district. Susan also serves her community through the Soroptimist Club of Davis and co-founded “Serving California Communities” in 2009, a group that ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Vickie Rafter

Hearts of Yolo: Vickie Rafter

August 25, 2016

Vickie Rafter has always had a heart for public service. She began her career as a federal law enforcement agent and came to Yolo County in 1997 as a civilian working in the air force. Vickie was stationed at McClellan and her husband, an active duty pilot, was stationed at Travis Air Force Base so they put down roots in between in Davis. After the arrival of her daughter in 2005, Vickie moved on ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Lori Ross

Hearts of Yolo: Lori Ross

August 17, 2016

Lori Ross is no stranger to volunteer work. She grew up volunteering in her church and now as a mother of two children, has volunteered for countless PTA event and little league games. Her career has also kept her busy. She’s worked her entire life to help others, first as a director of the Yolo County YMCA and now as the executive director of Woodland United Way. Considering how giving L...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Moyra Barsotti

Hearts of Yolo: Moyra Barsotti

August 10, 2016

When Moyra Barsotti became a mother, she had a strong desire to volunteer to help children in need. “Becoming a parent spurred me to think more about how some kids are born into a wealth of support and others are not; I had thought about this before becoming a parent, but post, it hit me viscerally.” A friend of a friend happened to be a CASA in Oakland and Moyra always admired the dif...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Claire Tauzer

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Claire Tauzer

August 4, 2016

Claire Tauzer knew she wanted to make a difference for children after teaching high school for three years, substitute teaching for two years, and witnessing the struggle that foster children go through first hand. “High school is already hard. Add to that being moved to a different home, often requiring a new school and location away from friends and life gets extremely difficult.” ...
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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:  Ginni Davis

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Ginni Davis

July 14, 2016

With three decades of experience in education in Yolo County, first as a teacher, then as a principal and finally as an associate superintendent, Ginni Davis found her calling as a CASA board member because she saw firsthand the difference CASAs made. “Children would be at a certain school for a period of time and then disappear. There was only limited information that followed these childre...
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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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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Janet Fulton

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Janet Fulton

June 23, 2016

Janet Fulton’s experience with CASA stretches from the east to west coast. A long-time Yolo County resident, Janet resided in Davis from 1997-2005 until marriage brought her East. It was in North Carolina that she and her husband first heard of CASA. “Our church encouraged members to volunteer for a variety of community organizations. My husband and I observed the how strong the role o...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile: Vicky Murphy

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Vicky Murphy

June 16, 2016

Vicki Murphy’s (pictured at right with one of her grandchildren) association with CASA dates back over 20 years when she was living in Walnut Creek. After a friend who was a juvenile court judge said she would be great at it, she decided to go through the training and become a CASA. She worked as a CASA volunteer in Walnut Creek for several years until she moved back home to Yolo County. She...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Nancy Pacheco

Hearts of Yolo: Nancy Pacheco

June 9, 2016

Nancy Pacheco is a mother, a wife, a CASA, a Guardian Scholar Mentor, a volunteer for the Foster and Kinship Care Program at Woodland Community College, and works as an Advocate Supervisor at Yolo County CASA. “There is a lot of need out there when it comes to foster children and my husband and I do whatever we can to support them, both when they are young and after they’ve aged out of...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile: Ben Cadranel

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Ben Cadranel

June 2, 2016

Ben Cadranel learned about CASA when he was a law student at McGeorge School of Law and had the opportunity to observe firsthand the vulnerability of children in the foster system. Right away, he knew he wanted to give back. “By all accounts I have had a privileged life. I had a stable home, loving parents, and a carefree youth. However, my family did have a deep history of struggle and beca...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Maggie Sanger

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Maggie Sanger

May 26, 2016

Many life lessons surface while flying a kite. Just ask one of our CASA volunteers, Maggie Sanger. “The day I met my second CASA child she was so young. I’ll never forget when I took her to fly a kite for the first time. She lost her grip and it flew away.We ran chasing it across the field until it got stuck in a structure. She was frightened and inconsolable. When I shrugged it off sh...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Stephen McCord

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Stephen McCord

May 19, 2016

Stephen McCord’s journey with CASA began with a desire to gain a deeper understanding of the foster care system when he and his wife began looking into adoption. What he found solidified his desire to help foster children, "I became a CASA nearly 15 years ago because I wanted to understand the foster care system and play a positive role in the life of a foster child. The experience of f...
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Hearts of Yolo Campaign

Hearts of Yolo

May 12, 2016

Hearts of Yolo is our way of telling the stories of constituents, CASAs, board members, donors, friends, and volunteers whose hearts enable CASA to help the near 400 foster children who reside in Yolo County. ?#?heartsofyolo?
Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Martha Clark-Garrison

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Martha-Clark Garrison

May 12, 2016

“I became a CASA nearly two years ago because I was inspired by an incredible young lady who was a foster child and in the CASA program. This young lady was determined, smart and certainly ambitious. She was not going to let her situation define who she was or who she could become and I saw the ways she benefited from having a CASA. I wanted to help others in similar situations.”

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