Hearts of Yolo Profile: Dr. Alan Tan

Friday, Dec 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 ‘yes.’”

Dr. Tan joined the first board of directors of Yolo County CASA in 1995 and remained until 2000. “In those very early days, we worked hard on setting up the organizational structure and fundraising. Eventually, we recruited our very first CASA volunteer.”

Once CASA volunteers started telling stories about their experiences with their cases, Dr. Tan saw firsthand the difference that Yolo County CASA could make for foster children. “I work with children all the time in my practice. In fact, they make up about two-thirds of my practice. The children I see are fortunate enough to have stable and loving families. Foster children don’t have any of those relationships, let alone many belongings to their names. From then on, I knew that I would make it the mission in my office to help foster children through Yolo County CASA.”

For nearly a decade, Dr. Tan and his staff have put up a “CASA Giving Tree” in his office (last year's giving tree is pictured here). The concept is simple—anyone from the public can volunteer to take an ornament and get a foster child their requested gift. This year, gift cards were unanimously requested. “It’s pretty powerful to think about what leads to a request like that. Most kids want to open a wrapped toy for Christmas but foster children want to actually have the experience of picking something out of their very own with their CASA volunteer. In many cases, it might be the only thing they pick out for themselves all year.”

Dr. Tan’s friends, patients’ and their families all get into the giving spirit. “This year I was really touched by one of our participants. She purchased gift cards for several children and then picked out gifts for them beyond that. It’s so wonderful to see everyone’s generosity and a true reminder of what the holidays are all about.”

While the CASA Giving Tree is very near to Dr. Tan’s heart, he points out that it’s important to think about charitable causes all year around. In response to Yolo County CASA’s first monthly giving program, Dr. Tan has become the organization’s first CASA sustainer. “I liked the idea that by donating a monthly sum, I was supporting the cost of sustaining a CASA volunteer for the year. It feels nice to actively support Yolo County CASA both at Christmas and for the entire year.”

As for the future, Dr. Tan is excited about Yolo County CASA’s goal of providing a CASA volunteer for each foster child in Yolo County. “I love that goal and want to do everything I can to help them achieve it.”

Thank you, Dr. Tan, for your very generous support of foster children in Yolo County.

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