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Congratulations to the Advocate of the Month for April: Wanda Otero

Queen of DIY and loving mother of two daughters and an adorable son--the son, of course, a fluffy bichpoo puppy named Charlie--Wanda Otero spends her free time flipping furniture, snuggling with Charlie, and pursuing her life’s biggest passion--helping others.

Wanda joined our CASA of CGS team two years ago after learning about our organization while in school for social work. Now, with her Bachelor’s degree in the respective field and on track for her Master’s, Wanda lends her expertise in human services to the meaningful work she contributes as a volunteer advocate in our community.

A Vineland native, Wanda helps serve abused and neglected children in need in Cumberland County with CASA, guided by her supportive Advocate Coordinator, Cara Zoppina.

“Wanda has been by her CASA child's side for over a year now and within that year, she has brought light, consistency, support, and positivity to her child's life,” says Cara. “Wanda's sweetness and unwavering support never ceases to amaze me! I have loved working with Wanda and watching her blossom as a CASA and bring such heartwarming positivity to her child. Wanda is fantastic with consistently submitting her court reports and ensuring that the court has a clear picture of the child and her needs. I appreciate her ongoing commitment beyond words!”

This commitment and positivity that exudes from Wanda is fueled by her passion to help others reach their goals and achieve happiness and success. After seeing countless children that needed help, and realizing the changes that can occur in these children’s lives just from some positive support and guidance, she remains inspired as a CASA volunteer, dedicated to changing a child’s story one day at a time.

“Wanda is an incredible advocate for children and has worked hard to make sure she is always there for her CASA child,” says Program Director Jennifer Henderson. “I'm so proud of the effort she puts in to make sure she enters her contact logs and sends in her court reports. Wanda's dedication to making a difference in a child's life is a pleasure to witness and I love having her on our team! She absolutely deserves this recognition and I look forward to seeing her continued impact within our community.”

Echoing the praise from our staff, Recruitment and Training Coordinator Julia Shulzhenko, who trained Wanda as a new CASA Advocate two years ago, adds:

“Wanda has been passionate and dedicated to CASA’s mission since she started training. She is an extremely kind person and she has left a positive impact on her case and our program!”

With such deep love and support from our CASA staff day in and day out, Wanda always knows that she has someone to turn to on our team whenever she needs help--and she does just the same for her CASA child, acting as a stable support system who is always rooting for their success and advocating for their best interests.

“CASA is so important because you are helping out children in need, and a lot of kids out there don’t have that support,” says Wanda. “These kids don’t have any emotional support or anybody to turn to, but CASAs go to great lengths to help these kids out, and even the coordinators are always there to help anytime you need it. It’s so rewarding seeing the change in your CASA kids when they’re improving and doing better and are happier. Being an advocate has changed my outlook on life because I see that things can improve and people can change. These kids are so resilient and they are always moving forward, and we can learn from them. CASAs are special because we really care and we are here for the children--we’re like a family.”

And we are so incredibly lucky to have her as part of our CASA family! Thank you, Wanda, for your positivity, support, and love for our CASA team and our mission to help the most vulnerable children in our community. Your hard work never goes unnoticed!

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