Advocate of the Month for June: Cara Doumenis
Nature-loving photographer and CASA of CGS Advocate
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what of the pictures left untaken? Moments in time that are so precious, so impactful, that the only pictures we have of them are the ones taken in our hearts. Maybe, sometimes, it’s these hidden pictures that keep us going, keep us pushing forward towards our passions and our dreams.
A photographer in her free time, Cara Doumenis channels these special moments each day in working towards her life’s biggest passion: helping others and making a difference in their lives where she can.
Cara joined our team at CASA of CGS less than a year ago, participating in our new virtual training component and quickly picking up her first case as a Salem county advocate upon graduation. And though she hasn’t been with us for long, she has certainly made an indelible mark on our CASA family.
“It is absolutely my pleasure to select Cara Doumenis for CASA of the month--she is so very deserving,” says her Salem County Advocate Coordinator, Cara Zoppina. “She is wholeheartedly committed to her CASA teen and spends so much time being a main support to him as he is entering adulthood and college. She starts her day by sending him a positive message and is always available to take his calls. Her dedication to this youth is incredible and inspiring and there aren’t enough words to show my appreciation for her work and commitment to CASA. Thank you for providing strength, encouragement, and laughter to everything that you do!”
Cara’s unwavering commitment to her CASA youth is inspiring. She is constantly there for him as an advocate and support system helping him navigate the drastic changes of entering adulthood, and during a global pandemic at that.
“It’s such a great, fulfilling feeling being able to give your extra time to someone else,” says Cara. “My CASA youth is fantastic. He’s the one and only youth I advocate for, which I appreciate because I can give him a lot of my time and support him with whatever he needs. He’s graduating high school this month so he’s going through a lot of big changes and it’s important for him to have someone consistent and someone who is there whenever he needs them.”
Cara’s experience advocating for her CASA youth has fueled her passion tenfold and impacted her life for the better. Volunteering and giving back to her community has been a constant staple in Caras’s life since she can remember. Her dedication to helping others funneled into her career and education, as she currently serves as a case worker at a substance abuse facility while going back to school for social work at the Rowan College of South Jersey (RCGC). And now, as a CASA volunteer, she is even more motivated to further her career in social services and give back to her community as much as she can--and her dedication has not gone unnoticed.
“Cara is such a genuine, one-of-a-kind person,” says Recruitment and Training Coordinator Julia Shulzhenko. “She has a huge heart, is extremely dedicated, and was such a pleasure to work with during our virtual training last year. She is so committed to the mission of CASA and I know she is going to continue doing amazing things!”
Cara--you are amazing and we are so lucky to have you on our team and as part of our growing CASA family. Your sincere and vibrant personality brings a smile to all of our faces and your commitment to your CASA youth is truly uplifting and inspirational.
“CASA is amazing and what we stand for is a beautiful thing,” says Cara. “If you’re thinking about volunteering with CASA--absolutely do it. It’s so rewarding, so amazing, and everybody is just so great that it will absolutely change your life. It’s such a warm feeling being able to help the kids and families. It’s totally worth it.”
Thank you so much for all you do for your CASA youth, our team, and our community! Your hard work never goes unnoticed!