Meet the Volunteers

Meet the Volunteers

Meet Volunteer Advocate Gabrielle Ommen

When working on a case, I focus more on a family’s strengths rather than their weaknessesand then I move forward from there. We have to recognize the good in people and check our biases. I try my best to come from a place of compassion and empathy. I think if we all did that, we’d be a lot better off, especially during these times. We should try to be good and notice the good in others. Meet Volunteer Advocate Gabrielle Ommen!

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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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Meet Volunteer Advocate Mary Folse

Representation is a topic that matters deeply to CASA volunteer Mary Folse. She believes that regardless of one’s background or the color of their skin, their experiences and viewpoints matter. Not only is this what drew Mary to CASA in the first place, but it’s a value she takes seriously in her own family’s life. “I emphasize representation for my kids because I didn’t see that growing up,” shares Mary.

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Meet Volunteer Advocate Angela Duley

"The biggest thing that a CASA volunteer brings is their time," says volunteer Angela Duley. "Taking the time to advocate, to ask for what's needed, to call attention to that child."

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Volunteer