Hearts of Yolo: Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille

Thursday, Feb 23, 2017

Yolo County CASA Board Member Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille knows all too well the adversity that foster children face through her over 30 MPyears working as an educational psychologist. One experience really stands out to her. “I began working with a teenage boy who had been in foster care for many years. You could see through his grades and attendance that his life was really thrown off course in the years immediately preceding and following his entry into foster care. During one of our sessions, I showed him copies of his early school photos, none of which he had ever seen. When I gave them to him, he just cried. He had no idea what he even looked like when he was little.” Moments like these are what Mary Patricia reflects on when she thinks about the importance of consistent relationships. “There wasn’t anyone making sure he could bring a bit of his childhood with him as he grew. What a loss for him."

Mary Patricia discovered Yolo County CASA when Georgia Corbett brought her to one of its first auction fundraisers. “I was sitting there feeling so connected to the mission. This organization was the answer to the problem I saw over and over in my career. CASA volunteers provide the consistent relationship that is missing in foster children’s lives. They have the ability to make sure a foster child gets those school photos.” Mary Patricia was asked to be on the board of directors in 2001 and hasn’t looked back since. “It just made so much sense that what I did professionally would become my personal mission as well.”

Professionally, Mary Patricia knows how important it is to break the cycle of trauma that foster children experience.. “You have to break the cycle of abuse somewhere or it just continues into the next generation and onward.”

Mary Patricia continues, “This is where CASA steps in. CASA volunteers provide consistent, trusted and safe relationships for foster children. They model caring. They show their CASA youth that there are healthy alternatives in relationships, which may well break the cycle of abuse and dysfunction in that child’s life, going forward. That is a tremendous impact on the life of a foster child.   

After 16 years on the board, many of those on the executive committee, Mary Patricia is still going strong. In fact, she was just recognized by the board for her outstanding service. “We’ve come so far and I plan to continue to work with CASA to provide these very vital services to the foster youth in our community. We are fortunate to live in a county that recognizes our responsibility to support those youth that have been removed from their family. All children deserve a chance at a good life…all children need to do more than simply survive…they need to thrive. Yolo County CASA exists as an opportunity to ensure that these children thrive.”

Thank you, Mary Patricia, from the bottom of our hearts for your leadership, generosity, and expertise. We’ve enjoyed working side by side with you to transform the lives of foster children.

For technical questions and comments regarding this website,
please contact the Webmaster.