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From Intern to Attorney: Leeza's Journey With CASA

From Intern to Attorney: Leeza's Journey With CASA

In April, 2016, Simrath-Leeza Kahai Dempsey was sworn in as a CASA/GAL volunteer, but that was hardly the first experience she had working with the Summit County Juvenile Court. During high school, Leeza volunteered with Teen Court which is how she originally learned of the CASA program. Leeza completed an internship with the CASA program and was sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer following her 21st birthday.

Her energy and passion to advocate for children has not faded in the 8 years she has served as volunteer. Instead, she has grown and developed to be even more confident in this role. Leeza encourages new CASA volunteers to listen to their gut feeling explaining “9 out of 10 times it will lead you in the right direction”. Her motivation to continue comes from the internal feeling of making an impact in a child’s life, specifically, the look of hope in a child’s eye. Volunteer Coordinator (VC), Lisa Rotondo, describes Leeza as enthusiastic, brave, generous, and kind. Her VC says, “Leeza is not afraid of challenge and would be there for you in a heartbeat.” 

Outside of her role as a CASA, Leeza is a 4H advisor for Medina County, as well as the Treasurer of the Medina County Aquarium Society. She is the Risk Management & Programming Advisor for Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Case Western Reserve University. When she isn’t giving back to the community, she enjoys spending time with her husband Tony and their cat Marmalade, in addition to caring for their 15+ tanks of fish.

In May, 2024, following her graduation from The University of Akron School of Law, Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio administered the oath of induction. Being sworn in as an attorney at the Summit County Juvenile Court was extremely meaningful to Leeza as the seeds for her legal career were planted in high school during Teen Court. The CASA/GAL staff were excited to celebrate this accomplishment with Leeza and her family. Anyone who knows Leeza knows she is a passionate child advocate and will share her elevator speech to recruit volunteers everywhere she goes. Leeza currently works as a Victim Advocate in Cuyahoga County working primarily along side Domestic Violence and Homicide cases. She says, “Although I absolutely love what I do, if I had to pick between any job in the world and being a CASA, being a CASA would win every time”.