Hearts of Yolo: Laura Legacki

Thursday, Oct 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.”

Now, over five years later, Laura has touched the lives of three foster children through four different assignments as a CASA volunteer. “My first CASA child was reassigned to me years later when she reentered the system.”

In addition to her own CASA children, she has helped many others through her “Book Box” project. “I’ve always loved to read and identify through characters in books that share my struggles, personality traits, or life experiences. Once I took one of my CASA children to pick out a book and I was touched by how much it meant to her not only to have a book of her very own but to be able to pick out whatever book she wanted. It inspired me to make this experience available for every CASA volunteer to share with their CASA child.”

Laura bought twelve bins and filled them with books for which funding was provided by the Yolo Children’s Fund. They are kept in the Yolo County CASA office and the concept is simple: If a CASA volunteer would like to give a book to their CASA child, they can simply take a bin of books on their visit and return it after. When the bins get low, Laura replenishes them.

While Laura is extremely passionate about the relationships she’s formed with each of her CASA children, she also stresses the value of the advocacy portion of being a CASA volunteer. “One of my CASA children was moved from a home in Yolo County to a home in Yuba County and the new high school she was attending required more credits than her old school to graduate. Her foster parents were suggesting summer school but I knew if she didn’t graduate on time, she might not graduate at all. I researched the issue with the help of the Yolo County Office of Education and found out that it is the law in California that foster children are held to the state minimum graduation requirements. My CASA child graduated on time that June.”

With a seven-year-old daughter of her own, Laura’s time is limited but being a CASA volunteer has remained a priority. “You really are the one consistent person a foster child has during a period of great uncertainty. Not only have I gotten to know my CASA children well through this process, I’ve also gotten to know myself a lot better.”

A beautiful byproduct of Laura’s work as a CASA volunteer is the inspiration it gave her father. “My dad was so inspired by the work I was doing as a CASA volunteer that he became trained and sworn in through Santa Clara County CASA.”

Thank you, Laura, for your tireless dedication to children who are greatly in need of it.

 

 

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