(Riverside / San Diego), Calif. – For Veterans Day, Voices for Children, an organization that recruits and trains caring volunteers, known as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to provide guidance and support services for youth in foster care is honoring its CASA volunteers who have served in the armed forces, including José from San Diego County and Ariella from Riverside County.
From being called to serve at a young age to applying their life skills and dedicating their time to support children in foster care, they are dedicated CASAs who have been making a profound impact since joining Voices for Children.
José, a San Diego County resident became a CASA in 2018 after hearing about the organization on KPBS Radio. With unwavering commitment, José has served as a guiding light for five case children within the child welfare system, embodying the essence of mentorship and positive influence. He takes the discipline instilled in him during his 20 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps and demonstrates to his assigned youth that he is there to help, meet their needs, and treat them with respect. One of José’s most impactful moments was visiting his case child after the child had reunited with his family successfully.
“Seeing the entire sibling group back together was incredibly rewarding. The child appreciates everything I do for him, and the mother appreciates that I have been a positive male role model. I feel honored to have helped guide a child’s future.” — CASA José
Throughout his journey as a CASA, José has exhibited remarkable dedication to the well-being and growth of the children under his care. He was trained to be prepared for anything and overcome every obstacle in front of him with a fighting spirit, and this certainly makes him a fierce advocate and a constant presence for a child who is navigating change and uncertainty.
Beyond fulfilling his role as an advocate, he is a remarkable role model for youth. José’s ability to connect with and inspire these young individuals is commendable. His compassionate and patient approach has helped children facing challenging circumstances to see opportunities that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. By fostering a sense of belonging and guidance, he has restored hope and built a brighter future for those he serves.
Ariella is a Riverside County CASA and a United States Air Force First Sergeant whose primary function is ensuring a mission-ready force. Ariella first heard about Voices for Children through a friend who recommended that she become a CASA. It did not take long for her to feel that same calling to service; in this case, to help the vulnerable children in the foster care system. She has been a CASA with Voices for Children since March 2020. As she rose through the military ranks, she realized the importance of advocating for her troops and their families, and now she uses this skill set to advocate for children in foster care.
Within her time as a CASA, Ariella has served two youths, being a beacon of support, empathy, and dedication. Being there for young teenage girls in both cases, Ariella has gained their trust, taking the time to get to know them. She makes every effort and uses every resource available to advocate for their best interests.
From compiling a detailed report to the Court that contributes to a successful reunification to advocating for consistent monthly visits to reinvigorate a sibling bond to holding educational rights for her assigned youth, serving as the point person for the youth’s academic needs, Ariella does it all.
“The experience of being a CASA is special. Despite the highs and lows, my case child means the world to me, and I’m grateful to be a friend and mentor to her. Serving as a CASA aligns perfectly with my military ideology.” — CASA Ariella
To learn more about becoming a CASA or donating to the program, visit speakupnow.org.