Heats of Yolo: Erica Levich

Thursday, Oct 19, 2017

Erica Levich knew she wanted to give back after a visit with a friend who volunteered in a nursing home. “She was doing something very hands on to make a difference and give back to her local community and I wanted to do the same. I began searching online for ways to help teens and Yolo County CASA came up. The headquarters also happened to be a few blocks from where I live. I applied and was accepted to the next training, which happened to be a few weeks later.”

Erica teaches middle school and when it came time to choose her CASA youth, she chose a teenage girl who needed someone to hold her educational rights. “With my professional background in education, I thought I could really make a difference for her.” Erica’s CASA youth plans to go to college and with Erica’s help, has learned about a lot of what is required to apply to college and get financial aid and government funding.

During their visits, Erica likes to take her CASA youth to places where she may not normally get to eat. “We go to Sunday brunch a lot at unique places in Sacramento like Hook & Ladder or The Porch.” A memory that especially stands out is when they went to San Francisco together. “We tried new things and had new experiences. It was just a really fun day to share.”

In addition to that memory, Erica recalls a time where the importance of her role as a CASA volunteer really hit home. “I was once at a meeting with my CASA youth, her foster parents, and her social worker and we were discussing her case, her resources, and the things she needs and values. She started talking about what our time together means to her. I was really touched.”

Erica herself was adopted and she has always felt fortunate for her great childhood experiences. Through being a teacher and a CASA volunteer, she knows that outcomes for children in the dependency system are not always harmonious and hopes that more people will consider becoming CASA volunteers and helping kids through hard times. “If you have even an inkling, just do it. It’s not about how much time you think you have or not, it’s about being there for the kids. As you form a relationship with your CASA child, you will realize that time isn’t even an issue.”

As for the future, Erica’s CASA child plans to attend college and become independent after she ages out of the system. “Adoption is not a goal for her but she is excited to pursue college under AB 12.” As for Erica, she will be there for her CASA child as long as her CASA child wants her there. “At times I’ve questioned if she needs me, but then she says something that makes me realize that she does, and I am grateful that I get to help guide her through tough years for anyone, let alone a youth in the dependency system.”  

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