Thursday, Feb 9, 2017
By Kate Watson
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer Dan Romanski expanded his support for Child Advocates this year by championing a $7,000 grant from the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, through his employer Liberty Insurance Brokers. Big thanks to Dan, Liberty, and the IICF!
Dan became a CASA for 17-year-old Luis two years ago. Dan had known about Child Advocates for many years but felt, like many of us, that he didn’t have sufficient time to volunteer. When that changed in 2014, Dan immediately committed to training and accepting an advocate assignment.
Luis was a senior in high school when Dan began working with him. Dan’s primary focus, after developing rapport with the teen, was to ensure that Luis graduated. Dan met with Luis’s teachers and with the school’s principal to explain and help overcome a series of moves and setbacks that Luis had faced as a child in Santa Clara County’s foster care system. Through Luis’s and Dan’s work, Luis graduated on time and Dan was present to celebrate his achievement.
As Dan explains of his role as a CASA, “You’re helping them learn to appropriately rely on other people and how to create trusting relationships. As a CASA, you cannot “fix” a child or solve all of their problems. Hopefully you create a space where they feel more comfortable accessing their own truth so they can blossom into their best selves.”
Because of his experience as a CASA, Dan immediately thought of Child Advocates when his company’s CEO asked for recommendations of nonprofits benefiting California communities. He submitted a one-page document about Child Advocates to the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, and it was positively acknowledged with a $7,000 award.
About his support, Dan says, “I’m just really grateful for Child Advocates. The staff and volunteers are very committed. You feel that everyone is happy and pleased when something good happens in one of the kiddo’s lives. This experience has made me even more grateful for my family and upbringing.”
Child Advocates, too, is grateful for volunteers like Dan, who give so much of their time and abilities and willing to connect us with funding opportunities. It is this type of extra effort and support that allows us to continue to grow the number of children we serve year after year.