Page 1

FALL 2015

Volume No. 26 | Issue 2

in this issue:


VFC Receives Human Rights Campaign Award


Reigniting Riverside’s CASA Program


The So-Called Overmedication Problem


“HOPE is being able to SEE that there is LIGHT despite all of the darkness.” — DESMOND TUTU

What an incredible year this has been for Voices for Children! As of October 16, 2015, we have already served 2,193 unduplicated foster children with advocacy. Last fiscal year, 1,433 CASA volunteers and case liaisons advocated for a then-record 2,541 foster children in San Diego County. Our goal this fiscal year is to serve 3,083 children, and we are well on our way to reaching that remarkable number. This has been possible only because of the outpouring of generous support from the community, and we are deeply grateful. We are moving ever closer to our ultimate goal, which is to provide a CASA volunteer to every foster child who needs one so that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We have now expanded our services into Riverside County, at the request of the state’s Judicial Council and the Riverside Superior Court. By December 2015, we will have 65 new CASA volunteers providing advocacy to more than 85 Riverside foster children— the modest beginning of what we hope will eventually be a thriving CASA program, replacing the one that closed in 2014. We are proud that the Judicial Council came to VFC and asked us to take on this work to help the thousands of abused, neglected children in our neighboring county. We now have offices in Riverside and Murrieta, and have received exceptional support from Riverside government and foundation funders. Funds raised in Riverside will support that program, just as all funds raised in San Diego will only support VFC’s primary work here in San Diego County. As the largest CASA program in California, we are changing children’s lives in a significant portion of our state!


Voices for Children transforms the lives of abused children by providing them with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). OUR VISION

Voices for Children believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent home and, to that end, will provide a CASA to every child in the foster care system who needs one, monitor every court file in the system, and advocate to improve the lives of foster children.

As you will read in an article written by a new member of the VFC family, retired Juvenile Court Judge Carol Isackson, there is still much work to be done to ensure foster children receive the medical and emotional attention they need. We often hear about the “overmedication” of foster children, but it is our belief that if more foster children had a CASA in their lives to monitor all of their ongoing medical and psychological needs, fewer children would experience the potentially negative effects of unchecked prescription drug use. Thankfully, our CASA volunteers are a consistent adult presence dedicated to their case children’s wellbeing, someone who fills gaps created by an overburdened system. I encourage you to read more about this subject on pages 6-7 and help us recruit more CASA volunteers—in San Diego and Riverside counties—so that more children have a CASA by their side. During this reflective time of year, when most of us are feeling grateful, I encourage you to join me, our Board of Directors, our Community Ambassadors Council, and our staff in celebrating our collective accomplishments that are making children’s lives better. Each and every child deserves to be loved and supported, and together we are helping more children feel they have the foundation they need to do wonderful things. With my heartfelt appreciation,

Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq. President/CEO


Voices for Children First CASA Program to Receive All Children-All Families Seal from Human Rights Campaign The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, presented Voices for Children with the foundation’s All Children—All Families seal of recognition for VFC’s commitment to supporting and serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) foster youth. Voices for Children earned the distinction by meeting HRC’s criteria for fully-inclusive policies and practices in working with the LGBT community. The HRC Foundation’s All Children—All Families initiative provides a comprehensive framework, from client non-discrimination policies to staff training, that assists agencies in establishing policies and practices that welcome, support, and affirm LGBT youth. Voices for Children is the first of the more than 900 CASA programs in the United States to have earned this recognition.

From left: Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO of The San Diego LGBT Center; VFC President/CEO Sharon Lawrence; Dr. Vincent Pompei of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation; and State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, 78th District.

“We’re honored to be recognized as a leader in serving LGBT youth, especially at a time when these young people are over-represented in foster care,” shared VFC President/CEO Sharon Lawrence, at a recognition ceremony hosted by The San Diego LGBT Community Center in July. “This is testament to the humanity and dedication of our Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers and staff, and reflects our organization’s mission, which is to serve as a voice for foster children, including LGBT youth.” With 400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system, and a disproportionately high number who identify as LGBT, there is an urgent need to increase the capacity of child welfare agencies to competently serve LGBT youth.

RETIRED JUVENILE COURT JUDGE JOINS VFC STAFF Voices for Children is pleased to announce that The Honorable Carol Isackson (Ret.) has joined the VFC staff on a part-time basis to assist with high level programmatic issues and resource development. Many would recognize Judge Isackson, as she served as a dependency judge in San Diego’s Juvenile Court from January 2007 until spring 2015, during which time she regularly interacted with our CASAs when they attended their case children’s court hearings.

The Honorable Carol Isackson (Ret.)

Judge Isackson was appointed to the bench by California Governor Gray Davis in April 2001. Prior to becoming a dependency judge, she was assigned as a delinquency judge from 2001 to 2006 and was a judge in Family Court from 2006 to 2007. Judge Isackson received her law degree from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she was a member of the Chicago-Kent Law Review and Moot Court. She received a Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan.

At Voices for Children, Judge Isackson will serve as Special Counsel to the President/CEO, reporting to Sharon Lawrence. “I’m honored to have joined the staff of Voices for Children and believe wholeheartedly that the work that the organization and CASA volunteers do directly impacts foster children’s lives,” said Judge Isackson. “While on the bench, I presided over thousands of cases and I strongly believe that foster children with CASA volunteers had better outcomes than those who did not. Often, the CASA volunteer was the only consistent adult presence in the foster child’s life, and this stability and thorough knowledge of the children and the details of their case helped me make more informed decisions about each of these children’s lives. I am very glad that I can continue to promote the best interests of foster children as a member of the VFC staff.” We encourage you to read her article about foster children and psychotropic drugs on pages 6-7 of The Voice.




Spans from the greater Los Angeles area to the California/Arizona border


POP. 2,189,641 (2010 Census)

ANSWERINGforTHE CALL CASA Volunteers in Riverside County In August 2014, Voices for Children was presented with a very special challenge. The CASA Program in neighboring Riverside County, which had operated since 1990, closed, leaving that county’s 5,500 foster children without Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) representation. Just as in San Diego, children in Riverside County foster care desperately need the individualized advocacy of CASA volunteers. The Superior Court of California, County of Riverside, and Judicial Council requested Voices for Children step in to rebuild the CASA program in Riverside County. The Board of Directors of VFC deliberated this important proposal and, in November 2014, voted to accept the challenge to expand our services to Riverside County. It was agreed that all funds expended in Riverside County would be raised from Riverside County.

“I cried when we had no CASAs for a while – our kids felt it, they really did. And you will either be frightened to know or excited to hear, they’ve been asking for you … ever since we knew you were coming back.” – Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline C. Jackson

Left to right: The Honorable Jacquline C. Jackson, Voices for Children Board member Julian Parra, and new CASA volunteer.


The Judicial Council, which oversees all CASA programs throughout the state, requested VFC embark on this endeavor because they had such confidence in our organization. The overall goal is to get Riverside’s CASA program back into successful operation for the benefit of that county’s foster children who urgently need services we and our CASAs provide. Our advocates are simply the best available resource for the lonely and frightened boys and girls in foster care and VFC’s work is already underway to bring a successful model to recruit, train, and supervise CASAs to advocate on behalf of these children. Voices for Children began operating a satellite program in Riverside County in February 2015. The initiative operates under the guidance of VFC President/CEO

Sharon M. Lawrence. Thus far, three Riverside County-based staff have been hired, and there is currently a search underway for a program director to oversee the work there, reporting to Sharon Lawrence. Given Riverside County’s geographical size, VFC operates out of two offices within the county: Murrieta, and the main office in Riverside. The first class of CASA volunteers, comprised of 20 new and reinstated advocates, graduated from Advocate University on June 10, 2015, with the swearing in presided over by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline C. Jackson. The Riverside County goals were modest to begin: to serve 50-100 foster children between January and September 2015. As of September 30, 2015, VFC graduated 56 CASA volunteers from Advocate University, and of those, 52 advocates are actively serving 72 foster children, with four CASAs waiting to be assigned a case. As a result of our early success in Riverside County, VFC’s Board of Directors voted to renew the contract with the Judicial Council, extending advocacy services for several more years, with appropriate benchmarks. “We are very excited to continue this initiative in Riverside County, and are humbled by the outpouring of support and appreciation shown to Voices for Children by the courts, judges, attorneys, social workers, and other professionals on each foster child’s case.” said Sharon Lawrence. “The positive difference our CASA volunteers have already made in the lives of 72 children is inspiring,





First CASA graduation in Riverside County, June 2015.

Living in


and we enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to serve even more foster children.” VFC is grateful to the early funders whose support of the CASA program in Riverside County helped bring advocacy services back to the abused, abandoned, and neglected children who desperately needed a caring adult by their side. We thank County of Riverside Supervisors John Tavaglione, District 2, Chuck Washington, District 3, and John J. Benoit, District 4; the Riverside County Transportation Commission; Bank of America; The Community Impact Fund at The Community Foundation; County of Riverside Community Development Department; and the City of Riverside Community Development Block Department. For more information about this initiative and VFC’s role in assisting foster children in Riverside County, contact Brianna Miller at or call (951) 472-9300. To register for an in-person or online Volunteer Information Session in Riverside County, visit

Riverside CASAs Share Their Bright Spots Voices for Children’s CASA volunteers in Riverside County had nothing but positive feedback to report after initial meetings with their newly assigned case children. Read some of their Bright Spots below!

CASA Emily is assigned to 6-year-old Selena and said, “My first meeting with Selena went very well! She is very imaginative and very talkative. I had only planned to stay the 30-minute suggested time, but ended up staying two hours because we just got to talking. Selena showed me her room and we sat there coloring the whole second hour. Her foster mom, Mary, said that Selena really just needs someone to love her and care for her, and if I wanted to come every week that would be great. So I met with her again the very next Friday."

CASA Dennis had good news for his Advocacy Supervisor following the first meeting with 9-year-old Michael. Dennis called to report he had a wonderful first visit with his case child. The foster parents were very welcoming and Michael was doing his homework when Dennis got there. Dennis sat with Michael and showed him some tricks for cursive writing, which the boy thought were great. The attorney on the case called Dennis shortly after that first visit to say how happy she is that Michael finally has a CASA.

CASA Erin is assigned to 16-year-old Caroline. Her Advocacy Supervisor shared this update: Three of Caroline’s teachers had almost given up on her until Erin joined her case in August. In that time, Erin has met with all three teachers and gotten them to agree to allow Caroline to do make-up assignments. This was the note we received from Erin recently, “I received the sweetest voicemail from Caroline after I called to tell her how stinking proud I am of her. It made me smile! So much personal fulfillment from this!!! #gush”



Every day, thousands of children in foster care are prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs. Often they are administered in a vacuum created by the lack of a complete medical and mental health history for the child, the absence of a comprehensive treatment plan, and a failure to provide consistent monitoring of the powerful medications.

Foster Youth and the So-Called “Overmedication” Problem By The Honorable Carol Isackson (Ret.), Special Counsel to the President/CEO, Voices for Children

While sensational headlines talk about the “overmedication of foster youth,” citing “shocking numbers” of children prescribed “potent and dangerous” drugs, the truth is more nuanced. Thoughtful analysis reveals that this so-called “overmedication” is in fact better understood as a symptom of a foster care system that often fails to provide carefully monitored, comprehensive, individualized psychosocial diagnosis and treatment for the abused, neglected children it serves. Psychotropic medications should be regarded as just one facet of a treatment regimen for foster children who need them. Focus should shift to creating a comprehensive therapeutic plan for each child—and drugs should be just one element of it. Court Appointed Special Advocates, volunteers trained and supervised by organizations like Voices for Children, are a powerful voice, perfectly situated to help fill this gap in services. Our CASAs ensure that foster children don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system. CASAs are respected and relied upon by our Juvenile Court judges. Each CASA spends an average of 10 to 15 hours a month with his or her “CASA child” and facilitates communication amongst the child, his or her caregivers, school, family, treatment providers, social workers, and the court itself. Without 6

the efforts of CASAs, consistent monitoring and communication between all those involved in the lives of foster children may be minimal to non-existent unless an emergency or crisis requires it. Most foster children have experienced years of trauma. They have family histories of chaos and instability, often characterized by generations of drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, domestic violence, incarceration, and poor education. We have seen 6-year-olds caring for baby siblings because their mother was too intoxicated or too psychotic to do so. Many girls and boys, some barely beyond infancy, are victims of sexual abuse, often by a family member or friend. Newborns suffer broken bones and brain injury as a result of physical abuse by parents or other adults in the household. Too many children who are now in the foster care system grew up hungry, living in cars, and/or watching their parents buy and sell drugs. More than a few have seen a parent murdered. But perhaps saddest of all are those foster children who are injured before they are even born. Swimming in utero in a toxic mix of their mother’s alcohol, drugs, and the stress hormone cortisol, these infants are set up at birth for later developmental and psychological challenges. Numerous foster children are born “Pos-Tox,” the term for those born

“positive for toxicity,” or addicted. They must be weaned off drugs that were used by their mothers. Some suffer permanent neurological and physical delays and injuries, and their later behavior is often characterized by erratic, unpredictable aggressive outbursts, high anxiety, hyperactivity, depression, and insomnia. The brain scans of infants and toddlers exposed to early trauma (both in utero and during early childhood) show vastly fewer synapses (indicating impaired brain development) along with high cortisol levels. These children are perpetually “on edge,” always in a state of high anxiety or agitation, ready to fight or flee. Concentration and focus are severely impaired, the frequency of aggressive and depressive behavior is sky high, and school behavioral and academic problems are frequent and serious. In short, most foster children have all the risk factors associated with developmental delays and mental illness. One way of dealing with those issues is through psychotropic medication. These children often need meds to help them cope. However, use of powerful medications should be part of a comprehensive treatment program, individualized for each child. Proper treatment programs and monitoring can lead to decreased use of psychotropic meds in foster children and youth. We


When she was born, Christina was addicted to the meth that her mother had taken steadily through her pregnancy. As a result, baby Christina was hospitalized until she was 18 months, and then placed in foster care.

believe that by providing a specially trained CASA for every child who needs one, we can ensure through VFC’s advocacy that the foster children of San Diego and Riverside receive this appropriate treatment and monitoring. Recently published California state Guidelines recommend that before any psychotropic medications are prescribed, a thoughtful benefit/risk analysis must be made. The prescriber (NOT a general pediatric or family practitioner without specialized training), the child, the caregiver, therapists, social worker, pediatrician, public health nurse, care coordinator, school staff, case manager, CASA, attorney, and other members of the child and family’s support network must communicate. The Guidelines recommend that if psychotropic drugs are prescribed, medication effectiveness and side effects should be closely monitored. In short, the use of psychotropic medications must be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes consistent, ongoing monitoring of the treatment and the medications. But this often does not happen for our foster children without a CASA. Children in licensed group homes are prescribed psychotropic medications by a physician under contract with the

particular group home. Children in foster homes often get psychotropic medications from the foster family’s medical provider. Some are psychiatrists; others are pediatricians or family practitioners. Practice does not require the prescribing doctor to have special training in medicating foster children or to integrate the medications into a comprehensive treatment plan. Often, all the doctor knows is that the social worker, group home, or foster family have asked for psychotropic medications because of a child’s aggressive outbursts, sleeplessness, or difficulty focusing in school. When foster children are moved frequently by social service agencies, the medications and directions frequently do not follow the child to the new placement. Often, the only consistent person in the child’s life is the CASA volunteer—that child’s “voice” in court, in schools, in the community. Sadly, not all foster children are fortunate enough to have a CASA. But Voices for Children, through its Serve Every Child vision, hopes that one day every foster child in our community—especially those who must have psychotropic medications to help them in their daily lives—will have a CASA standing by their side.

As she grew up, her development was delayed and her behaviors and problems got worse and worse. She had uncontrolled violent outbursts and despite attempts to find permanent placements for her, she ended up in high-security-level foster homes. When she started school, doctors placed Christina on psychotropic medications to help her concentrate and to calm her. By the time she was 15 and CASA Janet came into her life, Christina had been on these powerful meds for ten years. They were having negative impacts on her, but until the CASA investigated, no one realized that there were some counter-indicated meds that made the girl lethargic and confused most of the time. The CASA was able to advocate in court for more managed medical care with different doctors, and a reevaluation of the girl’s meds. She also helped Christina in school by getting special tutoring, and encouraging her to participate in more sports activities. Because of her early history, Christina will always have struggles. But for the first time, she is making friends, doing better in her classes, and even talking about going to community college. None of this would have happened without her CASA Janet insisting that there be a managed treatment plan.



Fun Without Faces In addition to advocating for foster children in Court, our CASA volunteers help kids have childhood experiences they may not otherwise have due to life in the dependency system. We often receive cute photos from our CASAs of their case child(ren) enjoying various activities (most for the first time), but due to confidentiality, we cannot share them with the larger VFC community. That was until two CASA volunteers came up with the idea of “Fun Without Faces”—photos that are taken of case children from behind or over the shoulder! Since we launched Fun Without Faces last fall, our CASA volunteers have sent dozens of photos that we are able to share on social media. Many photos are of kids engaging at a local museum, at which they receive free admission as part of VFC’s Fostering Culture Program, or having fun at Legoland of California thanks to a special partnership with Merlin’s Magic Wand. Search #FunWithoutFaces on Facebook or Twitter to see more of these great photos! Clockwise, from top left: CASA Dana Santana took this photo of her case teen with the girl’s two siblings at Imperial Beach; foster child Luisa making wishes at Mt. Woodson’s Wishing Rock; three brothers enjoying a day at Legoland with their CASA; CASA Nadine Varga and her case child enjoy the big fountain in front of Balboa Park’s Ruben H. Fleet Science Center.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! FOSTERING HOPE GOLF CLASSIC April 10–11, 2016, Fairmont Grand Del Mar Co-chairs Katie and Dan Sullivan and Connie and Richard Unger invite you to this exciting two-day event, which includes a cocktail reception and auction on Sunday evening, and on Monday, the 18-hole tournament, lunch, and awards ceremony.

WINE WOMEN & SHOES May 21, 2016 Bring the girlfriends for a festive afternoon of fashion, fine wines, and philanthropy to benefit Voices for Children.

STARRY STARRY NIGHT September 24, 2016 One of San Diego’s most stunning and successful galas, the evening will include an elegant cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, live auction, and dancing under a canopy of stars. For more information and sponsorship opportunities, email


FOCUSING PHILANTHROPY FOR FOSTER CHILDREN Focusing Philanthropy is partnering with Voices for Children to increase the number of foster youth with CASA volunteers advocating for their best interests. Thanks to Focusing Philanthropy (FP), we have an opportunity to raise an additional $50,000 through a new matching campaign. Via its website, FP identifies, evaluates, and presents non-profit organizations like VFC that are excellent candidates for personal philanthropy....all from the perspective of active donors who wish to be confident that funds or time contributed are achieving the greatest possible impact in addressing society’s problems. This campaign extends through December 31, 2015, and any gifts that are channeled through the Focusing Philanthropy web portal for VFC will be matched; the goal is to raise $100,000. To participate, contact Anne Farrell at or (858) 598-2246, or go to the Focusing Philanthropy website at


Voices for Children Board Chair David Bialis (right) and VFC co-founder Kathryn Ashworth accepted a Congressional proclamation from Bill Christensen, District Director of Congressman Darrell Issa (49th District) honoring Ashworth and marking VFC’s 35th anniversary at our Starry Starry Night gala in September.

VOICES FOR CHILDREN WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS We are pleased to announce four new members to our Board for Fiscal Year 2015–2016. Nancy Banning Doyle has extensive knowledge of the foster care system in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties having been a volunteer Case Assessment Program (CAP) File Reviewer at Voices for Children from 2008 to 2014 and a CASA in Los Angeles from 2005 to 2008. Nancy was also President and Founder of Scripps Clinic TSRI Charter Society. She and her husband, David Doyle, live in Del Mar. The Honorable Susan D. Huguenor (Retired) served in the judiciary for 28 years, including 13 years in Juvenile Court. She was the Juvenile Presiding Judge from 2003 to 2009, and was recently honored by the Southern California Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) as their “2014 Distinguished Jurist.” Now retired, Judge Huguenor mediates/arbitrates with ADR Services, Inc. She resides in Rancho Santa Fe with her husband, Thomas Huguenor. George Lai serves as the President of the Lily Lai Foundation—a private foundation in San Diego with a charitable mission to support cancer research, education, libraries, welfare of disadvantaged children, and empowerment of abused women. He also served as Director of Information Technology at eBioscience, Inc. George lives in Carmel Valley. Theodore (Ted) Tchang is the CEO of the Techbilt Companies, a family-owned developer and builder of residential and commercial/industrial communities with operations in Southern California and Colorado. Ted is a long-time member of the Board of Francis Parker School; he currently serves as a member of the Alumni Relations, Finance, and Campaign Steering Committees. With wife Alice Mo, Ted lives in La Jolla. The new and returning VFC Officers of the Board for FY2015–2016 are David Bialis, Chair (serving his second year in this position); Lise N. Wilson, Esq., Vice Chair; William Sailer, Esq., Secretary; Julian Parra, Treasurer; and Rochelle Bold, Esq., Past Chair. New members of the Community Ambassadors Council include: David Bruce, Holly McGrath Bruce, Mark Gleiberman, Dave Jackson, Jimmy Janacek, Yolanda Janacek, and Marina Marrelli. Welcome, all!

David Bialis, Chair Lise N. Wilson, Esq., Vice Chair Julian Parra, Treasurer William Sailer, Esq., Secretary Rochelle Bold, Esq., Past Chair Stephanie Bergsma Nancy Banning Doyle Ann Parode Dynes, Esq. Gina Ellis Holly Ellison Lisette Farrell P. Randolph Finch Jr., Esq. Jennifer Greenfield The Honorable Susan D. Huguenor (Ret.) Richard Kintz, Esq. George Lai Jennifer O’Connell Omar Passons, Esq. Dick Pfister, CAIA® Jill Skrezyna Katie Sullivan Haeyoung Kong Tang, Ph.D. Ted Tchang Dale Yahnke, CFA, CFP® Lany Zikakis

COMMUNITY AMBASSADORS COUNCIL Lauree Sahba, Chair David E. Archambault Doug Arthur Kathryn F. Ashworth, Esq. Joye D. Blount Annette Bradbury David Bruce Holly McGrath Bruce Vicky Carlson Mindy Fletcher Nathan Fletcher Mark Gleiberman Patricia Hughes Craig A. Irving Dave Jackson Jimmy Janacek Yolanda Janacek Richard Kelley David Marino Patsy Marino Marina Marrelli Susan McClellan Eleanor Navarra Sheryl Scarano Cecil H. Steppe Pamela S. Wygod




THE LIVINGSTON FAMILY FOUNDATION Ron Livingston never set out to leave a legacy. And yet, he is a shining example of success in business and in life. During his college years at UCLA, Ron played the small guard position on the basketball team under legendary coach, John Wooden. Wooden would end up being one of the greatest influences in Ron’s life, instilling in him a lifelong belief system: Always give your best and great things will happen. After college, Ron enjoyed a homebuilding career spanning 30 years, during which time he led his professional team to value dedication, hard work, and achievement. And today, these same values make him an inspiration within the philanthropic community. Ron Livingston and daughter Lori McKay wanted to do something about the overwhelming level of poor educational outcomes for foster youth, so they created Learning to Succeed in 2011, funded through the Livingston Family Foundation. This program pairs the individualized educational advocacy of a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer with academic support services including specialized tutoring, testing, and computers and software programs. Learning to Succeed gives promising foster youth in high school the resources they need to achieve the dream of receiving a diploma and to prepare for college or trade school admission. Voices for Children extends a heartfelt thanks to Ron Livingston and the entire Livingston family for their tremendous support and passionate belief in our mission.

Foundation and Government Grants Allow Children to Reach their Potential Voices for Children is grateful for the many foundations, corporations, and government agencies who give generously to help to make our mission possible. A very special thank you goes to our passionate supporters including the Price Philanthropies Foundation, the Lily Lai Foundation, the Highland Street Foundation, and the Walter J. & Betty C. Zable Foundation for their recent significant contributions to our CASA program. More than 800 San Diego foster children will have the individualized advocacy of a caring CASA volunteer or case assessment and triage, thanks to these valued donors. We are also grateful for gifts from more than 15 other foundations over the last four months, which will help us to offer the best available resource to San Diego foster children in crisis–our CASA volunteers. We also thank Supervisor Dave Roberts (Third District) and Supervisor Bill Horn (Fifth District) for recent Neighborhood Reinvestment Grants that will allow us to install street banners throughout San Diego and North County neighborhoods. VFC also thanks the County of Riverside Supervisors John Tavaglione (Second District), Chuck Washington (Third District), and John Benoit (Fourth District) for their dedicated support of our new CASA program in Riverside County. This support along with additional foundation and government grants (see page 5) will help VFC to serve Riverside County foster children during the scariest and most vulnerable time in their lives. Special thanks also goes to The Community Impact Fund at The Community Foundation for funding a targeted marketing campaign to recruit Riverside County CASA volunteers.



Volunteer Milestones

SHOW YOUR VFC PRIDE THROUGH CHAMPIONS FOR YOUTH! Voices for Children is collecting donations and pledges through the Champions for Youth in partnership with the Farmers Insurance Open from October 21-January 31. Our fundraising efforts will be in conjunction with those of 11 other San Diego charities focused on at-risk and underserved youth and military families. The nonprofit

organization that raises the most money through the Champions for Youth online portal by January 31, 2016 will receive a $45,000 award from the Farmers Insurance bonus pool. We were fortunate to win first place in 2013 and we were runner-up in 2014 and 2015. This year, we are asking for the support of everyone who passionately believes in our mission to help us reclaim first place! Participating Champions for Youth organizations also receive exposure and awareness through the Farmers Insurance Open. You can make a gift with a credit card and VFC will not have to pay the credit card donation fee! To make your year-end gift or pledge online, please visit www.ChampionsforVFC. org. If you would like additional information, please contact Stephanie Killion at (858) 598-2292 or

Voices for Children has created a new program to recognize the dedicated individuals who have volunteered for VFC for five or more years. CASA volunteers, case assessors, and members of our Board of Directors and Community Ambassadors Council receive special pins and lanyards to signify their years of service advocating on behalf of San Diego County foster children. Those celebrating the five or more year milestones are recognized at Advocate University graduations, and volunteers with 10 or more years of service enjoy a celebratory lunch with VFC President/CEO Sharon M. Lawrence so that she can personally thank them for being devoted to foster children. Following is a list of volunteers who have given 10 or more years of service to Voices for Children. 25+ Years

Tony Farwell

Kathryn Ashworth, Esq.

Dale Goldman

Cheryl Greaves

Patricia Hughes

20+ Years

Carol Irwin

Karen Breziner

Carole Martin

Judith Pruyne

Stacy McDaniel

15+ Years David E. Archambault Mary Ann Beattie Ruth Ely Carolina Finch Elizabeth Leonard Eleanor Navarra Sharon Province Sheryl Scarano

Marta Meester Sue Munz Jennifer Negre Kimberly Neilson Erin Pavelko Sally Pollack Gail Price Christie Ranney Genevieve Knych-Rohan Lauree Sahba


Jill Skrezyna

Varin Acevedo

Stacy Smith-Bacon

Linda Austin

Beverly Smith

Laura Barton

Dennis Sullivan


Eleanor Bluestein

Carol Tapert

Pat Burrascano

Jorge Valerdi

Diana Campion

Cecilia Wolfe

The Century Club of San Diego has provided Voices for Children with a limited number of discounted tickets, available for daily entrance into The 2016 Farmers Insurance Open, January 28-31, 2016. VFC will receive $25 of every ticket that we sell to fund our CASA Program. It is a win-win! To purchase your tickets, please contact Stephanie Killion by phone at (858) 598-2292 or email at StephanieK@

Vicky Carlson

Randi Wortman

Holly Elwell








with CASAS

Our 13th annual Starry Starry Night event on September 19 was a record-breaking success! With the theme “When You Wish Upon A Star,” co-chairs Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare’s leadership helped raise $1.37 in gross income, with a net income of more than $1.13 million to support Voices for Children’s CASA program. These funds will allow us to provide 2,262 foster children with advocacy services: 452 children will be served with CASA volunteers and 1,810 children will receive case assessment. The more than 340 VFC supporters in attendance at the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe enjoyed

mixology cocktails, followed by a spectacular evening created by Janice Dodge, Inc., with dinner conceived by Culinary Designer Andrew Spurgin, an exciting live auction, and a Fund-A-CASA paddle raise that provides direct support to the CASA program. Prior to dinner Bill Christensen, the District Director of Congressman Darrell Issa, presented the organization with a Congressional proclamation to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Voices for Children and honor co-founder Kathryn Ashworth. Guests concluded the evening with dancing under a canopy of stars to DJ Noel.

We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to this event! Major sponsors were Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare, Cox Communications, Farrell Family Foundation, Hughes Marino, George Lai, Nicole and Todd Mikles, Qualcomm Inc., Amy Ginnow and Andrée Morin, Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch, Annette and Dan Bradbury, Holly and David Bruce, Delta Airlines, Holly Ellison, Genentech, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, KPBS, Genta and Fred Luddy, Piston, Jori Potiker, The Rose Foundation, The San Diego Foundation, and Darlene Marcos Shiley.

Clockwise, from top left: Fred and Genta Luddy; Patsy Marino, Terri Bourne, and VFC Board member Haeyoung Kong Tang; VFC Board member George Lai and Chihua Chen; Co-chairs Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare; Debra Furlow, VFC Board of Directors Chair David Bialis, and VFC President/CEO, Sharon Lawrence, Esq.



WINE WOMEN & SHOES Our 4th Annual Wine Women & Shoes in May was held in Mission Hills at the home of Event Chair Marina Marrelli and Robert Anslow. Guests enjoyed fashion vignettes, sampled premium wines, savored delectable bites, and shopped the fashion marketplace. The exciting auction offered irresistible items, with additional opportunities to win the “Key to the Closet,” or choose from our “Wall of Wine.” The event netted $149,000 for our CASA Program. Sponsors included Cox Communications, Ellis Family Foundation, Fidelity Investments, First American, Hughes Marino, Cissy and Scott Wolfe, Amy and Jim Wood, and many wonderful culinary, winery, and fashion partners. Clockwise, from top right: Patricia Brutten and Event Chair Marina Marrelli; Maureen Weber, VFC Board member Lisette Farrell, and Alice Mo; Genta Luddy raises her paddle; Mimi Cohen, Nicole Mikles, and Becca Craig.

FOSTERING HOPE GOLF CLASSIC In Spring 2015, VFC hosted this exciting two-day event which netted a record $157,000. It was our first tournament at The Grand Del Mar, and we added a new element to the event, a Cocktail & Auction Party. We are grateful to Co-chairs Katie and Dan Sullivan and Connie and Richard Unger, and the Golf Committee who helped make the event a success. Thanks also to our generous sponsors: Dowling & Yahnke, Qualcomm, Cox, Holly and David Bruce, Amber and Robert Chambers, Delphi Private Advisors, Ann Parode Dynes and Bob Dynes, Ellis Family Foundation, Faye D. Hunter and Hugh Davies, G.A.G. Charitable Foundation, KPBS, MG Properties, Tecate Group, and Tim Riley. Clockwise, from top left: Tournament Co-chairs Dan and Katie Sullivan and Connie and Richard Unger; Rolf Benirschke, Debby Jacobs, Dale Yahnke, and Doug Timmons; VFC Board member Dale Yahnke and his wife, Julie Yahnke; Former foster youth Rosie Burton; Diane and David Zeiger.

PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE RECEPTION In July, our major donors gathered at the lovely home of VFC Board member Gina Ellis and her husband Ray Ellis. Guest speakers were The Honorable Kenneth J. Medel, one of our Juvenile Court dependency judges, and former foster youth Anthony, who movingly said, “My life would have been so much different without my CASA listening to me and speaking up for me. I hope that, soon, all the foster kids like me can have a CASA.”

From left: VFC Board Member Gina Ellis with her husband, Ray Ellis; Nancy Banning Doyle, Dave Bialis, and Sharon Lawrence; The Honorable Kenneth J. Medel; Maryanne and Irwin Pfister; VFC Board member Jennifer O’Connell and The Honorable Cynthia Bashant.




Amy Ginnow and Andrée Morin


Dr. Stacy Jacobs Nicole and Todd Mikles

$200,000+ Lily Lai Foundation $150,000+ Judicial Council of California Genta and Fred Luddy Price Philanthropies Foundation

Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego County Board of Supervisors Haeyoung Kong Tang Julie and Dale Yahnke $20,000+

Kathryn F. Ashworth, Esq. and Judge Thomas Ashworth III

Dr. John Mendlein

Jonni and Steve Bailey

Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Banc of California

Congressman Scott Peters and Lynn Gorguze

BNSF Railway Foundation


Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington The Rose Foundation

Amy Gibbs and Charles E. White

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation

Gina and Ray Ellis

Sahm Family Foundation

Joan and Irwin Jacobs

San Diego County Bar Foundation


Patsy and David Marino

San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox

Katie and Dr. Daniel Sullivan

Jennifer and Tim O’Connell

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts

Allison and Robert Price $50,000+

Dorian and Bill Sailer

Jocelyn Bauer

Sovereign Capital Management

The Highland Street Foundation/Holly McGrath Bruce and David Bruce

The Seth Sprague Educational & Charitable Foundation


Courtney and Ray Liddy

Jori Potiker



Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq. and Darin Boles, Esq.

Carole Sachs

Sheryl and Bob Scarano Stacy Schievelbein Erica and Danny Shepherd Darlene Marcos Shiley

Boys and Girls Foundation Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Amber and Robert Chambers Nikoo and Jack Chitayat City of Riverside CDBG City of San Diego Councilmember Mark Kersey Susana Corrigan Covington & Burling LLP Becca and Jason Craig Carol and Pedro Cuatrecasas De Falco Family Foundation, Inc. Audrey Geisel/The Dr. Seuss Foundation Anne and Dr. John G. Farrell

Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione

Shrontz Family Foundation

P. Randolph Finch Jr., Esq. and Cambra Finch

Jill Skrezyna and Alex Sun

First American Title Insurance


Elaine and Herb Solomon

Sharon L. Gorevitz and Alan Greenberg

Sam Attisha

Karen and Mike Stone

Sylvia and Dan Greenbaum

Annette and Dan Bradbury

Alice Mo and Ted Tchang

Jennifer and Dr. Richard Greenfield


Datron World Communications, Inc.

Rebecca and Craig Irving

Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare

The David C. Copley Foundation

The Community Foundation of Riverside County

David Bialis

Nancy Banning Doyle and David Doyle

California CASA Association Cox Communications George Lai Claire K.T. Reiss Qualcomm Foundation

The Rivers Foundation The San Diego Foundation

Shandi and Michael Johnson Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Patricia and Marc Brutten

Ann Parode Dynes and Dr. Robert C. Dynes

U.S. Bank

Kappa Alpha Theta University of San Diego

Century Club of San Diego

Robin and Kevin Werner

Rupert Keesler

Focusing Philanthropy

County of Riverside

Sheryl and Harvey White

Jeri and Bill Koltun


Dowling and Yahnke, LLC

Don Willis

Kroha-Casner Family Foundation

Goodrich Foundation

Holly Ellison

Lise Wilson and Steven Strauss

Larry D. Marcus

Hervey Family Foundation

Farrell Family Foundation

Karin Winner

Ellen Marks

Impact Giving

Lisette and Mick Farrell

Dr. Laurie Mitchell and Brent Woods

Diane M. Martin

Yolanda and Jimmy Janacek

Olivia and Dr. Peter C. Farrell

Linda and Richard Kintz, Esq.



AJL Charitable Foundation

Rochelle and Bill Bold

MG Properties Group Armone Sullivan and Chuck Myers National CASA Association

PHOTOGRAPHERS: Luis Garcia (pages 10, 11), Tim Hardy (pages 9, 12, 13, 16), Stacy Keck (pages 3, 12, 13), Lacy Leigh (pages 4,5), Lowell Tindell (page 13), John Trice (page 2) DESIGN: Tracy Meiners / StudioTM


We are grateful to the following major donors who have made gifts or pledges of $2,500 or more between December 16, 2014 to September 30, 2015. If you see any inaccuracies, please contact Stephanie Killion at


Ellise and Michael Coit

Jonathon Reeser

Linda and Ray Thomas

Sarah and Julian Parra

Lorie Steele Contorer and Aaron Contorer

Analia Reggio

UBS Financial Services

Lauree and Monte Sahba

Deidre and Raleigh Watson

Sempra Energy

Cissy and Scott Wolfe

Sara Solomon

Amy and Jim Wood

The Country Friends

Youth Philanthropy Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation

Kristi and Dick Pfister Maryanne and Irwin Pfister PGA Tour, Inc. Mark Piccone Gigie and Larry Price Terry and Tim Riley Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit

Cubic Corporation Delphi Private Advisors Tricia and Jermaine Dye Carolyn and William Fairl Fidelity National Title Foley & Lardner LLP

G.A.G. Charitable Corporation

San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn

Gemperle Enterprises

Sandra Timmons and Richard Sandstrom

Carole Lee and Jon Hangartner

Stanley F. Bernstein Fund at The Jewish Community Foundation Kathliene and Jon Sundt The TJX Foundation/ The TJX Companies Connie and Dr. Richard Unger United Way of San Diego County Urban Plates Wells Fargo Foundation Fe and Ralph Whitworth Doreen Young and Ed Luwa

Helmstetter Family Foundation Lisa Mason Faye Hunter and Dr. Hugh M. Davies Intercare Insurance Solutions Katherine Issa and Congressman Darrell Issa Margaret Jackson and Neil Hadfield Lila and Jason Jarvis Kate and Dick Kelley Stephanie and Les Kourie

Devon and William Logan M2 Fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation


Anita and Michael Mahaffey

AMN Healthcare

Marcia and Michael Martin

Anonymous (3)

Riverside County Transportation Commission

Benevity Community Impact Fund Erin and Phil Bevacqua Nicole and Neil Billock Lee Parnell and Robert Borthwick Miriam Breaux Sally and Jeff Busby Greg Byrum Debra and Ed Capozzoli Patricia Cohen

The Advocates Circle Launched in 2013, The Advocates Circle is comprised of a special group of friends who have told us that they have included Voices for Children in their estate plans. If you have included VFC in your estate plans, please let us know so that we can recognize your commitment to foster children. However, we can also keep this information confidential should you so choose. For more information about the Advocates Circle and/or to inform us that VFC is included in your bequest, please contact Anne Farrell at (858) 598-2246 or email

Susan Lester and Petra Mertens

Diane and David Zeiger

Remley and Doug Arthur

The Samuel I. & John Henry Fox Foundation

Angela and Koji Fukumura

Jeannie and Arthur Rivkin

James D. Sinegal

The Rotary Foundation

Cari and Bassam Massaad

Advocates Circle Honorary Chair Kathryn Ashworth, Esq. Gertrude Anderson Trust Kathryn F. Ashworth, Esq. and The Honorable Thomas Ashworth III The Paul Balistocky and Cynthia Balistocky Trust

Anne and Dr. John G. Farrell P. Randolph Finch Jr., Esq. and Cambra Finch Ray J. Kahler Trust Nancy Kaye Truman C. Kuehn Trust Ernest Laks Trust

Rochelle and Bill Bold

Sharon Lawrence and Darin Boles

Greg Byrum

Elizabeth M. Leonard

Kristen McCabe and Scott Saham

Keri and Shaun Copans

Phillip Mackler Trust

Rita Ryu and Matthew McCormick

Rita Cutri

Joan D. MacMillin Family Trust

Jill and Tom McKee

Daiber Family Living Trust

Ellen Preston

Janeen and Joseph D’Angelo

Jacqueline Reilly

The Estate of Abel De Brito, Jr.

Lauree and Monte Sahba Jill Skrezyna and Alex Sun

Carla Nolan

Ann Parode Dynes and Dr. Robert C. Dynes

Pamela Pendrell

Phillip M. Eisenberg Charitable Trust

Amy Gibbs and Charles E. White

Arthur and Jeanette Pratt Memorial Fund

Barbara Ellis

Anonymous (2)

Gina and Ray Ellis

Allison Henderson and Dr. Jay Miles Andrea and Gregory Moser

Mary Lou Washatka Trust

Denotes gift made through the San Diego Foundation. The mission of Voices for Children is made possible by major institutional support from the Riverside County Transportation Commission, the Price Philanthropies Foundation, the Lily Lai Foundation, Holly and David Bruce of the Highland Street Family Foundation, the Judicial Council of California, the Walter J. & Betty C. Zable Foundation, the National CASA Association, the Qualcomm Foundation, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and many more dedicated individuals, companies, and foundations.




2851 Meadow Lark Drive San Diego, CA 92123

November 20, 2015 7pm JOIN EVENT CHAIR AND VOICES FOR CHILDREN BOARD MEMBER DICK PFISTER AT THE ULTIMATE MAN CAVE, a spirited evening of charity gambling, hearty fare, libations, and an exciting live auction to benefit VFC and foster children in San Diego County. All proceeds will provide more foster children in San Diego County with the caring support of a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA volunteer.

Ladies are welcome!


Black Jack



Purchase Tickets


at the Voices for Children website:


to 11pm

Private Club in La Jolla





Cave Hearty Fare



WHALER | $1,000


GAMBLER | $250

Five admission tickets 1,250 player chips Access to High Roller tables Reserved seating Five hand-rolled cigars Recognition on event materials Host Committee membership Valet parking

Two admission tickets 400 player chips Access to High Roller tables Two hand-rolled cigars Valet parking

One admission ticket 200 player chips One hand-rolled cigar Valet parking

Pfister Family Foundation

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