Hearts of Yolo: Janell Quesada

Thursday, Dec 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 training, Janell chose her CASA child and was immediately struck by how open and excited he was to have a special relationship in his life. “Initially, I thought it would be hard to break down barriers but he was very open and we had a great relationship from the start.”

In fact, his openness and sensitivity has always made a strong impression on Janell. “I’ll never forget one visit when I told him I had to reschedule for the next week to attend a funeral. He started asking me if I was okay and had genuine empathy for me. I was just struck by his reaction, considering how young he was. He truly felt for me and the fact that I was going through hardship. It really gives you an insight into what these children have gone through.”

About six months into her first CASA assignment, she also became a CASA to her current CASA child’s little brother. One of her favorite memories stems from bringing all of the siblings together. “My CASA children also have an older brother who they do not regularly see. My oldest CASA child had a promotion celebration at his school one day. My youngest CASA child also attended the school so he was already there, but I got permission to pick up the oldest brother so that he could also come. It was incredible to see the love between them. They were all so surprised and happy.”

As Janell reflects on her time being a CASA, she is happy and uplifted. “CASA is an amazing program. When you see the difference it makes for foster children to have someone consistent who they can count on, it is really moving. When I go to see my CASA children it is the highlight of my week. I always come home in the best mood.”

Thank you, Janell, for brightening the lives of foster children. We are so grateful!

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