Hearts of Yolo: Stephanie Ciganovich

Thursday, Oct 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 recruiting more volunteers, she decided the time was right and applied to the training.

Stephanie has been a CASA volunteer for a little over a year but still clearly remembers the first time she met her CASA child, an elementary school-aged boy. “We met at the park and it was perfect. We played and talked and got to know each other along the way.” This first visit seemed to set the tone for their subsequent visits. “He loves to be outdoors so we play outdoors whenever we can. Once we went hiking in the Redwoods and had a magical time. I will always remember that visit.”

Stephanie has a passion for and experience with working with kids who have special needs. Her CASA child has a few and they develop strategies to succeed together. In fact, she just received educational rights for her CASA child so she has been busy advocating for his best interests in school. “The dependency system is a busy place. As a CASA volunteer you can really be focused on your one case and ensure that things don’t slip through the cracks.”

Speaking of advocacy, Stephanie has been to every court hearing for her CASA child. “Not only do you advocate for your child in court, but when you go you get to see each person who is involved with your CASA child’s case. It’s always a learning experience and the CASA staff is extremely supportive and involved.”

To those thinking about becoming a CASA volunteer, Stephanie says, “Being a CASA volunteer is one of the best choices I’ve made. A lot of people worry about the time commitment but it is so fun and meaningful that it becomes a natural part of your schedule. And most importantly, it’s a way to help kids who really need it.”

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