CASA Volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Learn more about what inspired them to become a CASA and what continues to inspire them to advocate for the best interests of kids in foster care.

In Douglas County, CASAs have been making a significant impact on the lives of children for over 25 years. CASA Volunteer Advocates are dedicated and passionate about the work they do. They are experts that go above and beyond every day to make sure a child’s voice is amplified in court. On April 20th, 2023, CASA for Douglas County hosted the first Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to recognize and thank the many Volunteer Advocates who give their time, energy, and heart to serving children involved in the child welfare system in our community. 

Kelli Eastman has been a CASA for 2 years and recently started on her 3rd case. Thank you, Kelli, for all that you do! 

Deb Ponec has only been with CASA since July 2021, but her passion is clearly visible, and she is already making a big impact. The youth on her second case will also thrive because Deb has said “YES”. Thank you, Deb, for your commitment to CASA and for making such an impact! 

Karen McClelland has been on her case for three years. She has a strong relationship with the boys, her team, and foster mom. Within the past few months, with adoption on the horizon, the oldest boy has been struggling with this idea. Because of this CASA, the boys still have a chance to find a forever home!

Katy Gonzalez was sworn in in March 2021 and took over for a CASA who had been on the case for over 2 ½ years.  When Katy accepted the case, the youth ran from her placement the day before she was scheduled to meet with her. Katy had a hearing on December, and because of this CASA, the youth had a voice in court.

Tricia Lovejoy was recently sworn in and accepted her first case.  She was assigned a teen boy with 4 brand new entries on his juvenile criminal history in 3 different counties. 

Debra Raymond is the advocate for 6 of the 9 children on her case.  She has been the advocate for over a year and the case was moving in the direction of reunification.  There are a lot of moving parts.

Chad Couillard has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate Volunteer since 2018. Since becoming a CASA volunteer, he has advocated for 3 children, one who has since reunified with their biological family. Chad shares that volunteering as a CASA is truly one of the most rewarding experiences he has had in his life.

Michele has been a CASA Volunteer since 2017. She was inspired by a desire to see more representation for African American girls and to make a positive impact on the entire community. Learn more about her advocacy experience.

These three Volunteers are a great example of what being a volunteer is all about.

Kim has a youth on her case who is really struggling at school.  Last year, she tried to work with the school, but due to COVID-19, she was not really successful.  Since the start of this year, Kim has diligently collaborated with the school, foster parent, and pediatrician to help get this kid what he needs.

Greg Burnett was assigned to his case in May 2020. There is a large team of therapists working on the team, and there are some serious concerns with the father’s therapist.