Hearts of Yolo: Ashley Olstad

Thursday, Mar 9, 2017

Ashley Olstad is a protective services officer for the UC Davis police department and also runs her family’s pumpkin patch, Bobby Dazzler’s Ashley OlstadPumpkin Patch between Davis and Woodland. She has a daughter of her own and is a single mother. Despite her busy schedule she felt a calling to be a CASA volunteer for many years. “I was intimidated by the time commitment at first but I finally decided to do it. In the training, they said that even the busiest people manage to fit it in.”

Last fall, Ashley received her CASA child. “We hit it off right away. On our first visit she immediately started talking to me about her new school and other life issues. She was so open and it really showed me how badly she needed a mentor and trusted friend to talk through life issues with.”

As Ashley’s relationship continued with her CASA child, she realized that despite being initially open, her CASA child was also very closed off in some ways. “There are some things that it took her longer to open up about and she waited until she was more comfortable with me. That’s where consistency comes in. It takes time to build a relationship to the point where you can truly get to the root of the issues and advocate for someone properly.”

Ashley is no stranger to children who have faced difficult circumstances. She once worked in Juvenile Hall. “I actually requested a teenager because in my experience, that age group needs a stable relationship and advocacy just as much, or even more so, than any other age group.”

While Ashley is enjoying her relationship with her current CASA child, she is not sure if she will continue being a CASA volunteer when her current assignment ends. “I know I will continue to stay in touch with her but I am putting a lot of thought into becoming a foster parent next. We will see where life goes.”

Thank you, Ashley, for everything you do to give foster children a chance at a better life. We are so grateful.

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