SAN LUIS OBISPO — Overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 to help bring assistance to abused and neglected children in San Luis Obispo County, four new members have joined the Board of Directors of Court Appointed Special Advocates of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.
Dr.Gilbert Stork, the new CASA Board president and past-president of Cuesta College, leads the slate, including new members, James Simonaro of Arroyo Grande and Kaimy Chappell of Pismo Beach. Additional changes to the Board include Kelly Sanders of Atascadero moving from president to secretary and Suzy da Silva Hamilton of Templeton stepping up to the vice president. After many years serving as a CASA volunteer assisting a child, Rudy Bachmann of San Luis Obispo has expanded his commitment by joining the Board.
“It’s my honor to lead the staff at CASA, who directly improve the lives of abused and neglected children in this county,” said Stork. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit these vulnerable children especially hard, but our dedicated volunteers never paused in their advocacy for their health and well-being. I am so proud of what they accomplish.”
Growing from 12 to 14 with this year’s election, the Board is now better sized to help CASA meet its goal of providing a volunteer to every child in the county under the court’s care. With the current health crisis compelling some volunteers and donors to reduce their support of CASA, the Board will prove crucial in increasing community support.
CASA is in its 27th year of providing advocacy for court-dependent children in this county. Most of the youth CASA serves live in foster care and face challenges to their health, education, and general well-being. The dedicated CASA volunteer can become the child’s trusted, consistent adult, regardless of changes to the child’s school or place of residence. In 2019, CASA provided an advocate to 322 children and oversaw volunteers who logged over 32,000 hours serving children.