1. What made you decide to become a CASA?

I enjoyed the time I spent as a mentor helping a child learn to read, but I always wished I could do more for my mentee when I heard what was going on outside of school. When my mentee moved schools and I felt I had the time and energy to dedicate to CASA, I signed up for an info session and never looked back!

2. What is your professional/volunteer background?

I am a Communications Project Manager with a degree in Advertising. In the past, I’ve mentored through Kids Hope USA. I enjoy building with Habitat for Humanity and I occasionally assist Golden Retriever Rescue Alliance with graphic design.

3. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a CASA?

Being a CASA is a serious commitment, but if you are at a point in your life where you can make the time and have emotional space for an experience like this, I really recommend it. It is hard to see children in pain, but it feels so good to help. If you aren’t ready now, keep CASA in mind and look into it when you are ready!

4. What has been the most challenging part of being a CASA?

The most challenging part of being a CASA has been realizing that justice isn’t always brought against people who abuse children. I try to overcome this by focusing on all the things that are going well in my case and doing everything I can to be sure the child in my case is safe.

5. What has been the most rewarding part of being a CASA?

There have been many rewarding moments, but one that stands out was when the mother in my case called me her CASA. While I was assigned to this case to advocate for her child, I know that helping her is one of the most important things I can do for the child. Building a relationship with her has been very rewarding and I’m so proud of the progress she has made.

6. Please share a special moment with us about your advocacy work with your CASA kid or on your case?

Recently I walked into the foster home of the child on my case (a toddler) and for the first time his eyes really lit up when he saw me and he lifted up his arms to me for a hug. I have had the chance to watch him grow and learn and it’s really awesome that I am able to help ensure a safe and happy future for him because I care about him so much.

7. Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or the CASA experience?

The legal system is so complicated and I've often marveled at how hard it would be for me to figure out what I need to for my case if I weren’t blessed with a great education, resources, and support system. It is somewhat disheartening to see the reality of the people involved in CPS cases, but it’s also how I know I am making a difference and why CASA is so important. We can use our resources to help children and families in need and end the cycle of abuse and neglect.

“Caroline consistently goes above and beyond in her work as a CASA volunteer. Since accepting her first case in July 2018, Caroline has built strong relationships with the foster family, biological family, and attorney ad litem, which has been instrumental in moving her case toward family reunification. Caroline has helped connect the mother with resources for her child and even helped the mother with baby-proofing her home to ensure it was a safe space for her one-year-old child to return. Caroline is an amazing advocate and has definitely made a positive impact on the life of her CASA child!”—Child Advocacy Specialist Melanie Navarro