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CASA couples stay connected by volunteering together

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County is celebrating Valentine’s Day by recognizing couples who serve together as volunteer advocates for abused and/or neglected children in the foster care system.

CASA currently has ten couples who serve as volunteers and three couples currently in volunteer training who will be sworn in on February 27. These couples are among the 300 CASA volunteers who will speak up for over 500 abused and neglected children in Santa Barbara County this year. “Our couples have a unique advantage when they take on cases with siblings, which can benefit the children by keeping them together or closely connected,” says CASA Executive Director, Kim Colby Davis.

One couple, Lisa and Ed Murray, have a mutual passion for helping children and love to share their volunteer experience with others. “There have been so many best moments advocating as a couple. We are partners in life and working together on a case seems so natural for us,” said Ed Murray. His wife Lisa added, “I was brought to CASA as a guest at the annual CASA fundraising dinner. The guest speaker was a former foster child and her story touched my heart.  There is one belief I hold dear to my heart, and that is that an authentic, caring person can make a difference in a child’s life.”

Over the years, CASA of Santa Barbara County has noticed an increase in couples who serve together.

Another CASA couple, Paul and Sandy Rodarte, married for 17 years and raising two children still find time to volunteer together. “We work as a team and motivate each other. It’s great to have the support of my wife, and my entire family,” says Paul. The duo takes separate cases. Paul has two teen boys, while Sandy advocates for two toddler siblings. “We like different age groups,” says Sandy. “I like nurturing the little ones, but it’s neat to see Paul taking his CASA boys hiking and riding bikes. He’s a good Dad to our children and an awesome CASA volunteer.” The couple hopes to instill a sense of volunteerism in their own children. “I know my daughter wants to be a CASA volunteer one day and that makes me proud of what we are doing,” says Paul.

For more information about volunteering with CASA of Santa Barbara County, making a donation, or to get involved, visit www.sbcasa.org or call Crystal Moreno, Recruiting and Outreach Director at (805) 739-9102 ext. 2954