The mission at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of San Mateo County is to ensure that all abused and neglected children who are under the protection of the court have a consistent, caring adult who speaks on their behalf and helps them reach their full potential. To do so, they pair children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems with community volunteers who provide one-on-one support, mentoring and advocacy in the court room and beyond. GoPro for a Cause is proud to support CASA. The following words are by CASA staff. 

Charles Dickens said “no one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” These words were especially true, when CASA volunteers, masked and socially distant in their cars, lined up in the office parking lot to pick up care packages for their deserving CASA youth. 

casa san mateo volunteers

 At times like this, when so many people are scared, confused and hurting, it is especially important to remember that kids are also struggling. Now imagine those in the child welfare system who are already experiencing trauma. We are so grateful to be able to give them the support they need- and the care packages will put a much-needed smile on their faces. -CASA Volunteer

casa san mateo office

Children in foster care and on probation, living through challenging situations already, have been further tested in this pandemic due to additional stressors from food insecurities, loss of family income, social isolation and decreased welfare services. Their lifeline has been their CASA volunteer who continues to stay engaged to advocate for their needs and well-being. Until recently, their outreach over the last 4 months has been virtual. From phone calls, texts and other creative means to stay in touch, CASA volunteers have found ways to be present and involved in their lives.

Thanks to the generosity of Sumo Logic and the Crystal Springs Chapter of National Charity League, over 100 care packages were recently donated to volunteers to give to their CASA youth. From stuffed animals and board books for the youngest children, games and puzzles for the kiddos, to journals, water bottles and fun treats for the teenagers, these gifts are sure to bring fun and laughter to those who could use it.

casa san mateo donations

On hand to capture this event was current GoPro employee and CASA Foster Care Youth Advocate Mary Rose Machajewski, who used equipment donated by GoPro to document the events of the day. Mary Rose photographed the CASA volunteers distributing the care packages and other school supplies and was passionate about shining a light on an organization that does so much good for youth in tough situations. As Mary Rose states, “As a GoPro employee, I know the power of pursuing passion, connecting with causes that matter, and capturing moments that leave a lasting impact. If this message can reach and inspire even one kid, it can be a positive influence for their formative years. With the global pandemic changing up the way we connect with others, it is great to see that CASA can adjust and be resilient in the face of uncertainty, just as these kids must do every day. I am honored to advocate for the voices that need to be heard.”

Most people who volunteer or donate to CASA do so because they want to make a difference in the life of a child. They understand, as said so well by Rita Pierson, that “every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.”

If you would like to change a child’s life, we are always looking for volunteers. You can learn more about how to become a volunteer on our website. If you are outside of the Bay Area and/or interested in making a donation, please visit here.