Former Padres All-Star Infielder to Spark Conversation around Foster Care in Voices for Children’s “Real Word Panel”
- Mark Loretta will discuss his personal experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer
- Young adults to share their personal experiences living in foster care and being supported by CASA volunteers
- Panel to highlight how the foster care system could change to better provide resources and support for youth in foster care
Former San Diego Padres infielder Mark Loretta will join Voices for Children on June 28 for its Real Word Speakers Panel, a signature speaking series exploring life in the foster care system. For this special edition, Loretta and the panelists will share their personal stories and provide perspectives on how the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program transforms the lives of youth in foster care.
Formerly a CASA himself, Loretta will share his personal experience being part of the CASA program and how the local community can advocate and support local youth in foster care by becoming a CASA volunteer.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS:
- Josh, who first entered the foster care system at 14 years old with his younger siblings. He currently lives in Connecticut and is graduating with his associate degree in business this month. More on his story here.
- Sean, who first entered the foster care system at 7 years old, along with his brother Luis. Now at the age of 30, he works in San Diego as a developer. More on his story here (Page 4 – The Ties that Bind).
- Anthony, who is a 20-year-old student at UCLA. Recently, Anthony was a marketing and communications intern for the UCLA football team and the Los Angeles Chargers. He has been sharing his foster care story as part of the Real Word Speakers Panel since he was 14.
- Suamhirs, who met his CASA as he was transitioning out of the foster care system at 18 years old. Now, he is the Partnerships and Budget Manager at the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Unit at the King County Department of Community and Human Services in Washington. He was recently awarded the Special Courage Award from the Office for Victims of Crime, a component of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs. The Special Courage Award category honors a victim or survivor who has shown exceptional perseverance or determination. Learn more about his story here.
ABOUT THE REAL WORD PANEL:
Voices for Children’s Real Word panel is composed of individuals who have spent time in foster care after experiencing abuse, neglect, or abandonment by their parents or caregivers. During this engaging conversation, participants will share how they think the system could change to better support children and the positive impact the CASA program has on the lives of children. The free virtual event will be held Tuesday, June 28, at 6 p.m. PDT via Zoom.
For many in foster care, the only stable and caring adult figure during their formative years may be their CASA volunteer. When these youth have a caring, consistent adult in their life, they are more likely to feel supported and have better outcomes.
Voices for Children hopes stories and experiences of former youth in foster care, such as what it is like to move from home to home or how it feels to be separated from their siblings, inspires community members to become CASA volunteers.
From 2020-2021, Voices for Children served more than 3,600 children and youth across San Diego and Riverside Counties.
WHEN AND WHERE:
To RSVP for the virtual event Tuesday, June 28, at 6 p.m. via Zoom, click here.
ABOUT VOICES FOR CHILDREN
Founded in 1980, Voices for Children (VFC) transforms the lives of abused, neglected, and abandoned children in foster care in San Diego and Riverside Counties by providing them with trained, volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). VFC believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent home, and strives to provide a CASA volunteer to every child in the foster care system who needs one. CASA volunteers advocate for a child or sibling group in court, school, and in the community to ensure their needs are met. Last year, VFC CASAs and staff advocated on behalf of more than 3,600 children in foster care across San Diego and Riverside Counties. For more information, visit www.speakupnow.org.