Stories

Hearts of Yolo:  Shelton Yip

Hearts of Yolo: Shelton Yip

July 12, 2018

Shelton Yip has had a long career in education. He started teaching special education over forty years ago, then worked as a school counselor, then became a school principal, and then worked in administration at both the Napa County and Sacramento City Unified School districts. He now sits on the Yolo County Board of Education. “All throughout my career I worked with CASA volunteers and I re...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Chris Thomas

Hearts of Yolo: Chris Thomas

July 5, 2018

Before she retired, Chris Thomas was a teacher for over 30 years. “I am no stranger to kids who are struggling and I knew in my retirement that I wanted to do something to give back to kids in need.” When Chris retired, she immediately thought of Yolo County CASA. “A dear friend I’ve known since childhood is a foster parent and was very familiar with the CASA organization. ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Karen Slinkard

Hearts of Yolo: Karen Slinkard

June 28, 2018

Karen Slinkard first became familiar with the dependency system when one of her children’s friends was taken into custody by Child Protective Services while she was visiting Karen’s daughter at her house. “It’s hard to talk about that experience even today but it made me acutely aware of what some kids go through. Ever since then, I knew I’d help children in the depen...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Make It Happen Yolo

Hearts of Yolo: Make it Happen Yolo

June 21, 2018

Make It Happen for Yolo County is an incredible story about caring people who came together to fill a need and are now making an impact on the lives of many transitional aged foster youth. Jan Judson, a nurse practitioner has always felt called to help foster youth. “I would have foster youth come see me and sometimes medical records could not be located. There was also a real sense of lo...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Sara Plaughter

Hearts of Yolo: Sarah Plaughter

June 14, 2018

Inspired by her own calling to adopt a child someday, Sarah Plaughter heard about Yolo County CASA through a friend who suggested she try becoming a CASA volunteer to get more familiar with the dependency system. A few years later, Sarah was reminded about Yolo County CASA by her cousin who had heard about it in a college class. "I had been waiting for the right time to become a CASA voluntee...
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Hearts of Yolo: Daisy Ruiz

Hearts of Yolo: Daisy Ruiz

June 7, 2018

Daisy Ruiz is currently a student at UC Davis studying sociology and psychology with a minor in Chicano studies. She hopes to one day become a social worker. She discovered Yolo County CASA at a career fair at UC Davis, and decided that becoming a CASA volunteer would be a great way both to give back and get a preview of what it might be like to be a social worker. “I was really eage...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Cecelia Thornton

Hearts of Yolo: Cecelia Thornton

May 30, 2018

Cecelia Thornton is a therapist in Sacramento who believes that everyone has a unique gift to share with others. She participates in CASA trainings by helping prospective CASA volunteers understand the effects of addiction on family members. She came upon this expertise after over a decade of specialized experience. “I spent 10 years working with addiction and recovery at CommuniCare Hea...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Michelle Hahn

Hearts of Yolo: Michelle Hahn

May 24, 2018

Michelle Hahn spent 14 years as a high-tech engineering and management professional before following her calling to become a family law attorney. For many reasons, Yolo County CASA is close to Michelle Hahn’s heart. She is no stranger to child protective services cases and custody disputes. “In law school I worked in law clinics for two years, helping families who didn’t have the...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kim Eichorn

Hearts of Yolo: Kim Eichorn

May 17, 2018

Kim Eichorn is born and raised in Davis and has been a local realtor for over two decades. “I love the Davis community and have had the privilege of getting to know many of its members through my profession, volunteer, and philanthropic work.” Kim is a long-time philanthropist, and she is drawn to Yolo County CASA because of its mission to provide advocacy and role models to childre...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Michelle Millet

Hearts of Yolo: Michelle Millet

May 10, 2018

Michelle Millet is no stranger to volunteering. She has chaired the Natural Resources Commission for the City of Davis, and has been on the Board of Davis Parent Nursery School, Bike Davis, and Explorit Science Center. She became aware of Yolo County CASA online. “The Hearts of Yolo stories kept coming up on my Facebook newsfeed and I really thought I could make a difference for a child who ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Roxanne Rice

Hearts of Yolo: Roxanne Rice

April 26, 2018

A retired teacher and then administrator of 26 years, Roxanne Rice has always felt a connection with at-risk youths. “Really, all youths are at-risk, but some are more in need than others. After being in the school system for nearly three decades, I know how much at-risk youths like those in the dependency system benefit from extra time and attention.” Roxanne first heard about Yolo...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Megan Martinez

Hearts of Yolo: Megan Martinez

April 20, 2018

Born and raised in Yolo County, Megan Martinez always wanted to give back to her community. When Megan heard about Yolo County CASA as a human development major at UC Davis, she was intrigued. “I noticed Yolo County CASA online through social media and I also had a friend who was involved in the organization. I’ve always wanted to work with children so it seemed like the perfect way to...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Genevieve Virden

Hearts of Yolo: Genevieve Virden

April 6, 2018

Genevieve Virden majored in social work because she wanted to devote her career to making a difference for people in need. “I met with a professor whotaught about the child welfare system and was sold. I took a bunch of child welfare policy classes. I loved the program and had lots of opportunities to work with at-risk students. Beyond that, I tutored in high school and worked in summer camp...
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Hears of Yolo:  Brian Buckley

Hearts of Yolo: Brian Buckley

April 5, 2018

Brian Buckley arrived in California a year and a half ago when his wife accepted a faculty position at UC Davis. Originally from Connecticut, he had spent the past 11 years working for the Connecticut Department of Social Services. “My degree is in criminal justice and I’ve always had a passion for people going through tough times. Lots of things happen in this world that aren&rsq...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kara Marsh-Armstrong

Hearts of Yolo: Kara Marsh-Armstrong

March 28, 2018

A calling to help children has shaped Kara Marsh-Armstrong’s journey to becoming both an advocate supervisor and CASA volunteer. For the first two decades of her career, Kara was a biotech patent attorney. Then, a desire to work with children led her to pursue her Master’s degree in special education and become a teacher. “I worked with smart children who had diagnoses li...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Julie Langston

Hearts of Yolo: Julie Langston

March 22, 2018

Julie Langston is a pediatric nurse practitioner and her current job is in forensic assault patient care. She once worked at a clinic for foster children and became familiar with the system both through that work and through adopting their own son from the foster care system. Julie has always felt that foster kids should have a strong voice during a time in their lives that is tumultuous and un...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Katherine Hess

Hearts of Yolo: Katherine Hess

March 15, 2018

Katherine Hess learned about Yolo County CASA in her Soroptimist club. “We had donated to Yolo County CASA’s programs and one of my fellow Soroptimists was also a CASA volunteer. I was moved by the mission and vision of the organization.” Katherine Hess works in planning for the City of Davis. She is starting to “ease into thinking” about retirement but did not wan...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Bob Lawson

Hearts of Yolo: Bob Lawson

March 8, 2018

Bob Lawson was inspired to become a CASA volunteer by his wife,Carol Lawson. “I had been retired for a year and a half and had settled on one volunteer position but was searching for another meaningful project to do on a volunteer basis. When I heard about Yolo County CASA, I just felt called.” Bob has been a CASA volunteer to a 14-year old male for about a year. “At first I...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Carol Lawson

Hearts of Yolo: Carol Lawson

March 1, 2018

When Carol Lawson’s youngest daughter headed to college, she felt the time was right to become a CASA volunteer. “I had heard about the organization over the years in the newspaper and then again at a UC Davis retirement event. I knew I would do it someday and the time felt right.” Before retirement, Carol worked at UC Davis. She holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree fro...
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Hearts of Yolo:  John Hess

Hearts of Yolo: John Hess

February 22, 2018

John Hess was recruited to be a CASA volunteer by his wife who heard about the organization in her Soroptimist club. “She really wanted to become a CASA volunteer and thought it would be something we could do together. The rest is history.” John was immediately impressed with what he learned in training. “My professional background is in science so learning about the juvenile jus...
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Brigit Kubiak:  Hearts of Yolo

Hearts of Yolo: Brigit Kubiak

February 14, 2018

Brigit Kubiak is a retired school counselor. She lives in Davis with her husband. They have a daughter, a grandson, and a granddaughter. Brigit heard about Yolo County CASA from someone in a swim class she was taking. Given her background in education, she thought it sounded like something with which she could make an impact. “I really missed working with kids and helping them work through l...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Mike Rockwell

Hearts of Yolo: Mike Rockwell

February 8, 2018

Mike Rockwell recently retired from the IRS and had learned about Yolo County CASA a while ago. He was no stranger to volunteering—he could often be found helping at his son’s sporting activities or school events—but in retirement he wanted a volunteer role where he could completely immerse himself. He talked to a former board member and decided that CASA was the right place for ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Bridget Gruber

Hearts of Yolo: Bridget Gruber

February 1, 2018

Becoming a mother led Bridget Gruber to Yolo County CASA. “I work in biotech and am an environmentalist and had always volunteered for environmental causes. After having children, I became interested in helping children in need. I noticed CASA on a friend of mine’s LinkedIn page and researched it. I thought it sounded like a great fit for the type of volunteering I wanted to do.”...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ginny Cahill

Hearts of Yolo: Ginny Cahill

January 25, 2018

Ginny Cahill found her calling to be a CASA volunteer through reading Executive Director Tracy Fauver’s monthly column in the local newspaper. “She explained Yolo County CASA’s mission and purpose in such a persuasive way, I knew I needed to become a volunteer someday.” That someday came when Ginny found herself fully retired from her profession as an environmental atto...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Griselda Estrada

Hearts of Yolo: Griselda Estrada

January 18, 2018

A leaf, parking pass, and journal entry mark a break through moment for Griselda Estrada and her CASA youth. “I drove her to Auburn so that we could hike together. At that point, I think she knew I was ‘all in.’ I mean, you don’t drive someone up to Auburn and go on a long hike with them if you don’t want to be invested in a relationship with them. We talked about fut...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Scott Allison

Hearts of Yolo: Scott Allison

January 10, 2018

Last fall, when Scott Allison found himself wondering how he could give more back to his community, CASA was at the top of his mind. “I am good friends with a former and current staff member and my wife is friends with the executive director. I had been considering becoming a CASA volunteer for years and the time felt right.” Scott applied to the training, was accepted, and has had ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Terry East

Hearts of Yolo: Terry East

January 3, 2018

Although, Terry East was born in Picayune, MS, he spent the majority of his childhood in Woodland. He recently returned to Woodland after seeing the world. “I am a fourth generation Woodlander. My family has served in key organizational and volunteer roles for the city and many are in agriculture. It’s nice to be ‘home’ and contributing to the cause.” Terry is a ma...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Michele Browne

Hearts of Yolo: Michele Browne

December 21, 2017

For twenty years, Michele Browne worked first as a veterinary nurse and then as an ER nurse. Now in her retirement she takes care of rescue dogs. In fact, she has taken care of around 250. A caretaker at heart, Michele is always looking for ways to help, but Yolo County CASA seemed to find her. “I have an autistic son and have advocated for him for years. He is now 22 and my daughter is 1...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kirsten Ferries

Hearts of Yolo: Kirsten Ferries

December 21, 2017

Kirsten Ferries is a nurturer through and through. She worked as a special needs teacher early in her career, and then went to business school and worked in fundraising for nonprofits after that. In addition to having a family of her own, she has been teaching meditation and restorative yoga for the past ten years, and also volunteers with Women’s Empowerment in Sacramento. Frustrated by...
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Hearts of Yolo:  The Hallmark Inn

Hearts of Yolo: The Hallmark Inn

December 14, 2017

The Youmans family, owners of Hallmark Properties, are again hosting a giving tree for Yolo County CASA in the lobby of the Hallmark Inn in Davis. Susan and Reed Youmans are long-time supporters of Yolo County CASA and their past “Hearts of Yolo” profile can be read here. This year, they have a special story to share. Susan states, “We were at a dinner a few weeks ago, and ra...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Dr. Tan's office

Hearts if Yolo: Dr. Tan's Office

December 7, 2017

ThisHearts of Yolo story is a very special compilation of quotes from Dr. Tan’s office. Please read the profile we did last holiday season about Dr. Tan here and enjoy the quotes from his staff below! "I'm so proud that our office continues to host the CASA Giving Tree. These gifts can make such an impact on the lives of the children who receive them. I love watching our patie...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Satyen Bhatia

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Satyen Bhatia

November 30, 2017

Satyen Bhatia came arrived in Yolo County three years ago to attend school at UC Davis. He saw a few posts about Yolo County CASA on Facebook and thought it sounded like a great organization to be a part of. Additionally, he worked for the Davis Vanguard, a local publication with a legal slant. He had heard through his work there about the challenges foster children face. He applied to the trainin...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Trina McMorrow

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Trina McMorrow

November 16, 2017

Trina Breuner McMorrow arrived in Yolo County about 20 years ago due to a job transfer. She and her then young family chose Davis as their new home town. At the time, Trina worked as a healthcare attorney, and earlier in life, as a nurse. Trina liked her ability to help people in each of these positions, but scaled back after several years to spend more time with her children. Trina has worked...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Ashley Snee Giovannettone

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Ashley Snee Giovannettone

November 9, 2017

Ashley Snee Giovannettone discovered Yolo County CASA when she was looking for ways to help foster children. Ashley has two young children of her own and works as a consultant. Despite her busy life, she has always felt called to help. “My husband and I have talked about becoming foster parents someday, but right now being a CASA volunteer is where I am concentrating my energy.” Ash...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Kelly Lynn Jordan

Hearts of Yolo: Kelly Lynn Jordan

November 2, 2017

Kelly Lynn Jordan, owner of KLJ studios at 424 First Street in Woodland, is passionate about instilling confidence in people through photography. Born and raised in Woodland, Kelly lived in Los Angeles for 12 years photographing musicians. She returned to Woodland a few years ago to raise her family close to relatives. “I believe in multigenerational support and I wanted my daughter to grow...
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Hearts of Yolo:  John Morelli

Hearts of Yolo: John Morelli

October 25, 2017

John Morelli has dedicated his life to mentoring youth in various ways. Born and raised in Woodland, he was a junior high and high school teacher in the Woodland Joint Unified School District for 38 years. He became a CASA volunteer at the urging of Judge Basha. “My wife and I would run into Judge Basha in church and he kept suggesting that I become a CASA volunteer. I was intrigued and wen...
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Heats of Yolo:  Erica Levich

Hearts of Yolo: Erica Levich

October 19, 2017

Erica Levich knew she wanted to give back after a visit with a friend who volunteered in a nursing home. “She was doing something very hands on to make a difference and give back to her local community and I wanted to do the same. I began searching online for ways to help teens and Yolo County CASA came up. The headquarters also happened to be a few blocks from where I live. I applied and wa...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Steve Adams

Hearts of Yolo: Steve Adams

October 12, 2017

Steve Adams arrived in Davis 27 years ago to attend law school and launch a second career. Now with two grown children, and after practicing environmental law with several state agencies, he found Yolo County CASA as he was looking to give back in retirement. “A colleague of mine highly recommended the program, as well as the mother of one of my daughter’s friends. My wife was also fa...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Monique Sraws

Hearts of Yolo: Monique Sraws

October 5, 2017

Monique Straws and her twin sister, Sharique were born addicted to heroin and cocaine. Through the years, she and her sister were placed in several different foster homes, sometimes together, but most often apart. In fact, they were only placed together twice before the age of ten, and were not placed together after that. “My childhood memories centered around a lot of loneliness and indepen...
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Caitlin Buggy:  Hearts of Yolo

Caitlin Buggy: Hearts of Yolo

September 28, 2017

Caitlin Buggy has always had a heart for children in need. She has worked as a counselor in a children’s shelter and now works as a pediatric ICU nurse. She is also attending UC Davis to get her Master’s degree in nursing administration. She has always known about CASA and felt a calling to become more involved. A year ago, she recruited her mom, Ann Buggy, to apply to the CASA trainin...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Berenice Ceja

Hearts of Yolo: Berenice Ceja

September 21, 2017

Berenice Ceja moved to Yolo County a few years ago to attend college at UC Davis. She heard about Yolo County CASA through an organization she was a part of and felt compelled to apply to be a CASA volunteer. “I had moved to Davis from the Bay Area and was actively looking for impactful ways to get involved in my new community.” Berenice was accepted to the CASA training and about ...
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Hearts of Yolo Update:  Karen Selby

Hearts of Yolo Update: Karen Selby

September 14, 2017

1) Can you describe a moment that stands out to you as a CASA volunteer? "A special moment that stands out to me in my relationship with my CASA child is one that happened in a recent visit.For the two years that I have had my CASA child, we've gotten along well, but during this particular visit I experienced a definite feeling of trust and connection with him.He seemed to relax in a n...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Samantha Smith

Hearts of Yolo: Samantha Smith

September 7, 2017

With aMaster’s Degree in public health and a background in nonprofit program evaluation, a yearning to have more direct involvement in the service work of nonprofit organizations led Samantha Smith to Yolo County CASA. “I wanted to be hands-on and helping people every day. When I heard about an opening on staff as an advocate supervisor at Yolo County CASA, I immediately applied. Each ...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Elliot Jones

Hearts of Yolo: Elliot Jones

August 31, 2017

Elliot Jones graduated from college at the peak of the Great Recession. Jobs in his fields of interest were scant, so Elliot turned to volunteering to get experience on his resume. Knowing he wanted to be an attorney or a social worker, a Google search led him to CASA. He did not know it then, but his work as a CASA volunteer would spark a passion. Elliot began seeing his current CASA youth...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Eileen Allen

Hearts of Yolo: Eileen Allen

August 24, 2017

Eileen Allen followed her calling to become a CASA volunteer when she retired a little over a year ago. “I learned about Yolo County CASA in the Davis Enterprise and knew that I wanted to become a volunteer someday.” Today, Eileen serves two toddlers through her role as a CASA volunteer. “I absolutely love spending time with two adorable, small children who are now beginning to t...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Casie Chavarria-Hiett

Hearts of Yolo: Casie Chavarria-Hiett

August 11, 2017

Casie Chavarria-Hiett has always loved helping those in need, especially children. She works as a paraprofessional educator at the Woodland school district and also works as an in-home support person. She has three children of her own. Casie has always wanted to be a foster parent someday. In fact, when she was a little girl, it’s what she told her mom she wanted to do. Casie’s cous...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ann Cassidy-Stone

Hearts of Yolo: Ann Cassidy-Stone

August 10, 2017

Ann Cassidy-Stone became interested CASA over fifteen years ago when she heard about it from a friend. After she retired in 2012and her three children were grown, she felt the time was right. She went through the training that spring and is now on her third CASA assignment. She discusses a moment with her CASA child that impacted her. “My current CASA child is in a great home where she i...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Ann Buggy

Hearts of Yolo: Ann Buggy

August 3, 2017

Ann Durant-Buggy recently moved from Stockton to Davis with her husband. “My husband and two of my children all attended UC Davis so we thought it would be a great place to eventually retire.” When she moved, she was also looking for a volunteer cause. “I heard about CASA many years ago because my aunt was a CASA volunteer and then a guardian ad litem. At the time, I had young ch...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Joy and John Schutzman

Hearts of Yolo: Joy and John Schutzman

July 27, 2017

For six years, two of which involved fertility treatments, Joy Schutzman and her husband, John, tried without success to conceive children. Then, their lives took a turn they never could have predicted. “A close friend of mine called me to ask if I wanted to attend a foster care awareness event. I immediately called my husband who also thought it was a good idea. We just went in full boar fr...
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Hearts of Yolo:  Carol Brummerstedt

Hearts of Yolo: Carol Brummerstedt

July 20, 2017

Carol Brummerstedt moved to Yolo County six years ago from Berkeley after taking care of her mother before her passing. Her husband had been doing business in Sacramento and her daughter was also living in the area so it seemed like a great fit. So did becoming a CASA volunteer. “I first heard about CASA because a good friend of mine in the Bay Area was a CASA volunteer. The time wasn&rs...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Jeannette Lejardi

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Jeannette Lejardi

July 28, 2016

In 1999 Jeannette Lejardi moved from Lodi to Davis, searching for a better school district for her boys who were in third and fifth grade. She ended up finding so much more. An attorney by trade, Jeannette is involved in many activities that make Yolo County a better place. She was a founding member of the Yolo Conflict Resolution Center, an organization providing conflict resolution strategies...
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Hearts of Yolo Profile:  Karen Selby

Hearts of Yolo Profile: Karen Selby

July 21, 2016

A tragic life event of her own inspired Karen Selby to help others who were also going through tragic life events. “In 2012, I was widowed after 40 years of marriage when my husband passed away from lung cancer. I prayed for a job, but not a traditional job… something that was different and impactful.” An article in the paper recruiting CASAs and seeking host families for exc...
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