Hearts of Yolo Update: Kirsten Ferries

Friday, Feb 22, 2019

Two years ago, after observing the increase of homeless individuals in Yolo County, with an alarming number of them young adults, Kirsten Ferries decided to focus her volunteer time helping youth on a one-on-one basis. At a coffee with a friend she discussed the idea of taking on a new volunteer role. Her friend told her about Yolo County CASA and how a number of foster youth become homeless after aging out of the dependency system.

Kirsten went home and read more about Yolo County CASA and noticed there was an information session the next day. She met with Jen Boschee-Danzer, the Yolo County CASA Program Manager and she was hooked. “Jen’s energy and excitement about the difference one constant adult can make in a foster youth’s life and success as an adult compelled me to get involved with CASA.”

Then last year, Kirsten had the opportunity to make a difference for foster youth in another way as well. “When the position for Recruitment and Retention Coordinator opened at Yolo County CASA, I knew that I could use my CASA experience and marketing background to not only make a one-on-one difference for a foster child, but also to help many foster children who are in need of CASA volunteers get one.”

And that she has. Yolo County CASA is currently in the middle of their Winter training and it’s the fullest training class in the organization’s history. “As I got out there and spread the word about Yolo County CASA, I learned just how giving and caring our community is. It was so fulfilling to see the applications come in.”

Kirsten says that part of the reason she was able to recruit such a big class is because she has firsthand experience. “I was able to talk about what it’s like to be a CASA volunteer. For example, my CASA child and I love going to story time at the library, going out to dinner, and doing special things, like seeing the Nutcracker at the Woodland Opera House. Through these visits, she opens up more and more. And this relationship building leads to insight that is critical when it comes to advocating for her.”

Speaking of advocacy, Kirsten emphasizes how important the role of a CASA volunteer is in a foster child’s life. “A CASA volunteer is the only one-on-one relationship a foster child has and the impact of that relationship is so clear when it comes to advocacy. So often, the CASA volunteer will have an insight or piece of information that is critical to a positive outcome. It’s easy to see why I’m so inspired to come to work each day.”

If anyone reading this is interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, Kirsten would love to meet you. “Our next training starts on April 22nd, and we will accept applications until April 15th. I hold an information session at the Yolo County CASA office every Thursday and I also arrange private meetings if someone can’t make it to an info session. Come on by and find out more!”

 In the meantime, Kirsten will continue to spread the word. “I love getting out into the community and educating people about what a CASA volunteer does. So many people come away inspired, and even if they don’t apply right away, some tuck away the knowledge for the future or tell a friend, and that is helpful, too.”

Thank you, Kirsten, for all that you do for foster children!

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