Skip to main content

News & Events


Volunteer Spotlight: Their Love for CASA


Samantha (left) and Ashley (right) have a shared love for the CASA program. When Samantha learned about CASA at a career fair at The University of Akron, she immediately went home and shared the new information with her now wife, Ashley. Although not intending to focus her social work career on working with children, Ashley describes Samantha as “over the moon” about getting started as a CASA volunteer. Both applied and completed training in May, 2018.

In the past 5 years, this dynamic couple has advocated for a total of 41 children brining each of them a voice which is nothing shy of amazing! Ashley has been an advocate for 10 children in 6 families and Samantha has advocated for 31 children in 8 families. Ashley is an engineer by day, and a photographer, wife, mother, and podcaster outside of work talking about social issues and current events. She enjoys spending time with her family and getting outdoors.

While Samantha completed her internship with the CASA program, she was confident to take on multiple complicated cases with large sibling groups. Lisa Rotondo, her Volunteer Coordinator, describes Samantha as, “an amazing advocate who isn’t afraid of a challenge and is highly motivated”. Outside of volunteering, Samantha works in mental health services for incarcerated adults and has a 3 year old son who brings so much joy to their lives. Samantha says, “It is important to recognize all areas have overlap. That’s something CASA has taught me. Although I work primarily with inmates, many of them have family members involved with SCCS, SCJC, and have CASA/GAL’s working with their own children.”

Samantha and Ashley were kind enough to share their story and here is what they have to say:

What kept you motivated to continue serving as a CASA/GAL volunteer? 

A: The reward of the outcome. It’s very rewarding when you feel that you’ve helped reconnect families, or change the direction of a child’s life just from being an advocate. 

S: Even now, years later, Lisa (VC) keeps me motivated because she always has a challenge in her pocket for me, and she is there to support me when I need it. I always have someone at the CASA office I can lean on. Beth Cardina acted as my field supervisor during my internship, and it was an honor to learn about Social Work through Beth’s eyes. She taught me the importance of collaborating with other professionals.

What advice do you have for new CASA/GAL volunteers? 

A: Learn everything you can from your peers. There are people from many backgrounds that serve as volunteers. Everyone’s life experiences provide a different perspective and is unique from person to person. 

S: Jump in feet first! You’re never going to be lost, you’re never going to be alone. There are always resources at the CASA office and someone to help.

What else do you want other to know about you and your experience? 

A: I’m happy to have impacted the CASA program by helping so many children. Though I’ve taken a break, CASA will always be a part of my life and will continue to bring joy and hope to our children in our community. 

S: I’d love other CASAs to know how important their work is. As a CASA/GAL, you truly are sometimes the person who knows that child better than anyone else. You may be the only person who has ever cared for them appropriately and unconditionally. This is so important to not only the well-being of the child today but their entire lives. Having that secure and healthy attachment will stay with them forever.