Hearts of Yolo Profile: Satyen Bhatia

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017

Satyen Bhatia came arrived in Yolo County three years ago to attend school at UC Davis. He saw a few posts about Yolo County CASA on Facebook and thought it sounded like a great organization to be a part of. Additionally, he worked for the Davis Vanguard, a local publication with a legal slant. He had heard through his work there about the challenges foster children face. He applied to the training and has been a CASA volunteer for just over a year.

Satyen has a 16-year-old CASA youth. He describes him as a nice kid who is going places, and, despite all that’s happened to him in his life, Satyen says his attitude remains positive and upbeat. Satyen fondly remembers when he first met his CASA youth. “I am about five years older than him and I don’t think he was expecting to see a younger volunteer. I remember I got into a water balloon fight with him and his younger brothers that day and it really set the stage for a friendship.”

Since then, Satyen tries to do activities that facilitate fun and friendship. “I find that the times when we are just hanging out as friends are the times my CASA youth opens up the most. For example, I just won tickets to a Kings Game through a raffle at the Yolo County CASA office. It was great to be able to bring my CASA youth to see one of his favorite sports teams play. The game was a couple hours long, so naturally we had a lot of time to talk about life, too.”

Speaking of opening up, Satyen takes the advocacy side of being a CASA volunteer seriously. In fact, Satyen himself plans to attend law school in a couple of years post college graduation. “My CASA youth would like to be in foster care long-term until he ages out of the system. We’ve had a lot of talks together about why, and in my court reports, I advocate for that. The judge always has taken my court reports very seriously and my CASA youth is subsequently getting the outcome he hopes for."

Satyen is a busy UC Davis student with a double major, but says the time commitment to being a CASA volunteer doesn’t feel like a commitment at all. “I have fun every moment that I am with him. I have recruited two of my friends to also be CASA volunteers. Not only do you get to form a great relationship with someone who needs it, you get experience working with children and working in the court system. As a college student, I find this very valuable and it has inspired me even more to go to law school.”

As for the future, Satyen expects to stay friends with his CASA youth, even when their formal assignment through Yolo County CASA ends. “Like I said, he is really going places and I want to stay in touch with him and see it.” Satyen would also like to continue to be a CASA volunteer. “Wherever I end up after I finish at UC Davis, I will check into the local CASA organization. I think it’s extremely important.”

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