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Our Staff

Driving Force - What is your primary motivation for leading CASA, and how does this passion influence the organization's direction and initiatives?

Giving hope to our abused and neglected children in foster care to live in a safe and healthy home with a loving family, and  having a future of hope for a better life. I use this passion to build our program and recruit volunteers. Our volunteers are the voice and hope for these children.

 

Vision for Training - How does the 6-hour training session embody the vision and mission of CASA, and why is it so crucial for the volunteers?

 

In order for our volunteers to advocate and represent our foster children, they have to be trained for various situations that occur with these foster children who have experienced some type of trauma and do not know a  normal life as we do. They have to know how to respond, and react to these children in a positive way. Our volunteers learn how to prepare the court report which is crucial. It's one of the key elements that helps a judge decide what is in the child's best interest.

Stories of Hope - Could you share a story that exemplifies the hope and change CASA brings to children and families, highlighting the importance of thorough volunteer training?

I went to a home that had 9 foster children, two separate foster cases. One of the cases had three siblings, ages 16, 12 and 6 (the girls were 16 and 12, the boy was 6). We were called by the foster parent (male foster parent no wife) to help with the 16year-old's hair. It was very matted and he didn't know what to do. I arrived at the home and checked the young lady's hair and it was beyond repair. I tried to untangle it for over an hour to no avail. As I was working with the young lady's hair, the daughter of the foster parent told me her grandmother owned a hair salon in town. I immediately asked her if she would call her grandmother and ask if she could help with the hair and I would pay her. The grandmother agreed. I gave the foster parent the money and he took her to the salon. A few hours later he contacted me and sent me a picture of the young lady with a brand new hair style. She had a smile from ear-to-ear and thanked me.

Leadership Philosophy - As a leader, how do you instill the values of empathy, care, and advocacy in your team and volunteers through these training sessions?

By being an example and letting them know that they have to be compassionate and sometimes they have to set their biases aside and think of the children's best interests. They have to look at the whole picture and be aware of the children's needs and wants and what is best for them. Volunteers have to look beyond the grim picture and think of what needs to be done or undone for these children to have hope for a better life.

Future Aspiration - Looking forward, what are your aspirations for CASA and its volunteers, and how do these training sessions contribute to achieving those goals? 

For every abused and neglected foster child to haver a CASA Advocate Volunteer. We have to continue to have training sessions for our volunteers so that they can advocate to their fullest potential for these children. In a world where the child welfare system is broken, a CASA Advocate Volunteer is so crucial.

Teresa Romero joined CASA Partners 4NM Kids in 2016. Teresa and her husband Joseph live with their three children in Valencia County. She is a native New Mexican. In her spare time (what is that?) she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Teresa finds it a great honor to work with this amazing agency and its dedicated, hardworking, and professional volunteers who advocate on behalf of children, and speak in their best interest. She believes passionately in CASA's vision and mission, and she appreciates the opportunity to make a positive impact within our community, one child at a time.

ANDREA VALDEZ-GARCIA
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Honored to join the NM CASA team!

Andrea is a New Mexico native that lives with her husband Jose in the east mountains. The care for their 6 dogs, cat, and large pond of goldfish. Andrea very much enjoys learning about new cultures, cooking (spicy foods), baking (her seasonally-inspired cinnamon rolls), reading, and gardening.

Andrea and her husband love spending time and spoiling their 29 nephews and nieces. It fills Andrea's heart with joy to know that she can play a role in NM CASA's mission to uplift and empower the future generations of New Mexico. She is committed to making a positive impact and is looking forward to working alongside everyone in this noble pursuit!

 

 

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