Hearts of Yolo: Susanne Ramalia

Thursday, Feb 9, 2017

Suzanne Ramalia recently moved back to Yolo County and found her volunteer calling when she was driving home from her job at the Yolo County Susanne RamaliaSheriff’s office. “I was listening to NPR and someone from the national CASA organization was being interviewed. I thought it was a wonderful idea and I called the Yolo County chapter to become more involved. They were in the middle of a training cycle so I couldn’t attend that one, but I applied to and was accepted to the next one.”

 In January of 2016, Suzanne officially became a trained CASA volunteer and picked her first CASA assignment, a young boy. “I've raised a daughter and I didn’t know what to expect with a boy but I kept an open mind and it has just been delightful.” Suzanne has found that he is very energetic and loves playing outside, “Sometimes we bond just by playing together and I think it contributes to him being more willing to open up when we stop and chat for a while.”

As Suzanne reflects on special moments and memories she has with her CASA child, she mentions his dream to become a firefighter. “I found out early on through our visits that he wanted to be a firefighter so I set up a visit at the local station. The firefighters ended up talking to him for a really long time. He even got to sit in the fire truck and take home a plastic hat. It was really fun to show him that his dreams could come true.”

Suzanne also remembers more casual visits. “One time I just brought along some extra paper and taught him how to make paper airplanes. It was so simple and fun and a great way to spend time together.”

The advocacy component of being a CASA has made as much of an impact on Suzanne as the relationship component. “The judge takes my written reports into evidence and really factors everything together when he makes his decision. I am really impressed.” Also impressive, Suzanne says, is the support she gets. “The Yolo County CASA staff works so hard making sure that volunteers have the support we need. They are supporting us in court during the day, and then in the evenings they are running trainings. Their dedication is quite impressive.”

Speaking of dedication, Suzanne feels she’s found her match in her CASA volunteer work. “I will be there for my CASA child as long as he needs me, even after our formal CASA relationship ends. I look forward to keeping in touch with him and meeting foster children who are matched to me in the future.”

Thank you, Suzanne, for making the world a better place for foster children.

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