Hearts of Yolo: Courtney Prado

Thursday, Mar 16, 2017

Courtney Prado likes to help in emergency situations. For many years, she worked in the veterinary field, helping Courtney Pradoanimals and their owners through critical health problems. In college, she knew she wanted to pursue a field that aligned with her passion for helping others. She is currently completing her sociology degree at UC Davis and plans to pursue her law degree about a year after she graduates.

Courtney first heard about Yolo County CASA when she attended an informational meeting about the organization. She felt instantly connected to the cause and completed her training last summer. “The mission of the organization really spoke to me. I couldn’t wait to help kids who need it most.”

Last October, Courtney was paired with her CASA child, a six-month old infant. “Since my CASA child can’t speak for herself, I become her eyes and ears. I have a great relationship with her foster mother and social workers and am able to get several perspectives about how she is doing. When I visit, I look around and make sure everything seems safe and accommodating for her. I am really impressed with her foster mother. She is welcoming and a wonderful caregiver.”

Before becoming a CASA volunteer, Courtney was aware of the foster care system but not aware of the intricacies of it. “Through being a CASA volunteer, you really feel the magnitude of the fact that you are advocating for another human being. It is so needed. CASA volunteers are often the only consistent voice a foster child has in court. They really bring all of the professionals—teachers, social workers, foster parents, together.”

Courtney has also enjoyed the support she receives from the Yolo County CASA staff. “The training and staff support are wonderful. If I ever have a question, I can talk to my advocate supervisor and she is so supportive. If I know someone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer that is intimidated, I tell them to just go for it. I know they will be supported and be so glad they did it.”

As Courtney reflects on her experience as a CASA volunteer, she thinks about two moments. When her training was complete, Judge Basha swore in all the new CASA volunteers. “That moment just made everything feel so real and exciting. After that, I knew I was in a position to really make a difference.” She also remembers the first time she met her CASA child. “I just wanted to do everything I could for her. I felt for her so much and saw such vulnerability. Being a CASA volunteer is not something to just put on a resume or do casually. It is something you do with all of your passion and heart, and it is incredibly worth it.”

Thank you, Courtney, for changing the lives of foster children.

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