Court Appointed Special Advocates annually honors an outstanding organization, educator and individual in Santa Cruz County whose special efforts help support children in the county’s foster care system.
In anticipation of the awards, Patch interviewed the three winners. This is the second of three Q&As where the honorees—in their own words—explain their motivation to serve.
Cathy Mayar, a former engineer and manager, took some time off from her 30-year career to spend time with her family and indulge creative pursuits. The Aptos woman has donated her time to manage the CASA website.
1. How did you become involved with CASA?
Since moving to Aptos in 2004, I had taken a bunch of classes from Cabrillo, and I especially enjoyed their web design courses. I found out that CASA needed web help from a friend of CASA board member Katie Bates. I was very happy to have a chance to help CASA and continue building my skills while helping others.
2. What has been your most meaningful experience with CASA?
CASA is very respectful of the privacy of the children in foster care, so it is rare to hear of specific cases. Around Valentine's Day each year, CASA holds a "For the Love of Children" luncheon. At these lunches, a few now-adult CASA kids and advocates speak to the good work that CASA has done. When hearing these stories, you just know that the Advocates are providing a tremendous aid to the kids. I always get teary-eyed. Another source of inspiration is our "what it is like to be an Advocate" page. Read Jeannine and Kira's story. I think that sums up what CASA does to help children in need.
3. What surprised you about working with CASA?
I am always surprised at the constant devotion of the CASA employees and the Advocates. It seems to me that they all work very hard for a very good cause.
4. What other organizations in the county do you devote time and energy to?
Within the county, I provide the web design and support for the Friends Of Watsonville Animal Shelter. Outside of the county, I also provide similar help for other non-profits such as History of Art Department of UC Berkeley.
5. Obviously, not everyone has the time, ability or desire to work with children in foster care? What's one thing the average Santa Cruz County resident could do to help foster youth?
for their dedication to helping foster children at an event Monday evening in Watsonville.
Editor's Note: Who are the movers and shakers making a difference in Watsonville? Those who lead by example, change things around and make us better by challenging the status quo and having integrity? This is one installment in our .