Meet the Volunteers

Meet the Volunteers

Meet Volunteer Advocate David Sosa

“Honestly, I think being able to watch the kids enjoy themselves on visits, they’ve made a connection with me and it's nice that for a short time, they don’t have to worry. On my first case, I advocated for a sibling group, and seeing them relax and enjoy 'being kids' is so important. To be able to be a constant presence in these kids' lives makes it all so worth it. A few hours a month of your time can totally change a child’s life.” Meet Volunteer Advocate David Sosa!

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Marycarmen Ramirez

“I knew I wanted to make a difference, one kid at a time." Marycarmen Ramirez spends her days working as a Victim Services Specialist for a local police department, and when she’s not at work, she’s in grad school studying toward a master's degree in Public Administration. Now, she's juggling all of this while serving as a CASA volunteer, and though the pandemic has brought a lot of challenges, she’s still been able to make great connections with the children she serves. “The most important thing for me when advocating is being a support system for the kids, being empathetic, and making sure they know they’re not alone.” Meet Volunteer Advocate Marycarmen Ramirez!

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Meet Fifteen-Year Tenured Volunteer Advocate Melissa Lorber

“Find something you care about that you’re interested in. I know a lot of people talk about finding your passion and making that your career, but that’s not really what I’ve done. I want to support my family, but then I want to find something else that I care about. Even if what you’re passionate about can’t be your job, do it anyway, and find whatever time you can to devote to it.” Meet Fifteen-Year Tenured Volunteer Advocate Melissa Lorber!

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Chuck Teague

“There are tremendous assets available for families that need support through CASA and the other organizations we work with. On my own case, I just feel so hopeful for this child’s future. Throughout my life, I’ve seen so many tragic instances where something happens during childhood, and a person carries that trauma always. At CASA, we help children see hope—that they are not trapped. It’s amazing.” Meet Volunteer Advocate Chuck Teague!

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Meet Retiring Volunteer Advocate Karen Manson

After dedicating nearly two decades to CASA of Travis County as a volunteer, Karen Manson is preparing to retire, and she reflects on her time advocating for the most vulnerable children in our community with passion, grit, and humor. The tenacity and empathy she's brought to each of her cases is an inspirational call for us all to find our own way to change the world. "I’ve never had a job that was anywhere close to being as rewarding as what I did these last 19 years. When you look at your life, you look to see how you made a difference, and I know with each of these kids I made a difference."

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Sofia Ojeda

“CASA opened my eyes to a lot of the causes and effects of the foster care system and how the process works. It helped me to understand why it is so important for children in this system to have CASA advocates.”

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Steph Dirden

“We have so many kids of color in the foster care system, and I know for the children I serve, there was an instant connection because they were able to see me and say, ‘there’s someone who looks like me.’ I’ve felt that way in dealing with their whole family as well. Representation is so important.”

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Kimberlyn Barton

"Being a CASA volunteer just feels natural, like breathing. I think it makes me a better person. It makes me feel more at ease and like I’ve done something better in the world. It feels like I’m paying it forward."

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Keith Finley

“A lot of the happiest families/best situations have nothing to do with where people are economically,” says CASA volunteer Keith Finley. “A lot of very loving households that may have economic challenges still have a supportive, happy, thriving environment.”

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Hazel McNeilage

"I see the hardships that many of these families [that CASA serves] have, and how that impacts the kids,” observes Hazel. “What a struggle it can be for people who in many ways are actually trying to do the right thing. Even when things are going well, they can be one problem away from something that could really cause them issues and spiral them off course. There is no safety net.” 

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