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Advocate of the Month for October: Taylor Mann

Livestreamer, Psychology major, and CASA of CGS Advocate

Live streaming, positive psychology, and tropical traveling—while altogether unrelated, these details blend into a picture of a woman who is inspiring change in the lives of youth in foster care across South Jersey.

Taylor Mann grew up quite a ways from South Jersey in her hometown of Albany in upstate New York. She spent much of her childhood in the throes of depression and self harm until a little something called positive psychology completely changed her life. Now, twelve years depression-free, she is graduating with a degree in psychology from Rowan University and is dedicated to using positivity to change people’s mindsets. And just less than a year ago, she brought her vigor for positivity to CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.

Taylor stumbled upon CASA of CGS completely by chance. With the promise of receiving extra credit from one of her professors, Taylor attended a career fair a year ago with just her GPA in mind. But while perusing the tables she learned about CASA and something changed. At that point, she had a bit of volunteer experience with children and teens at her church, but that was years ago. In that moment, she felt motivated to channel her experiences and her knowledge for good--and for the past year with CASA of CGS, she has done exactly that.

“Taylor's advocacy leaves no stone unturned,” said Salem county Advocate Coordinator Cara Zoppina. “She fiercely advocates for adolescents she serves and performs with vigilance, grace, and loyalty. Taylor’s reports are jam-packed with information and provide the court and attorneys with an accurate picture. As a student studying to be a clinical therapist, she often uses those helpful tools to assist her with strategies of engagement. Taylor’s passion is evident in everything she does. I wholeheartedly enjoy working with her and am so very thankful that she picked CASA of CGS as she is an invaluable advocate to our program.”

Since joining our CASA family last December, Taylor has left an indelible positive impression on our team, the youth she serves, and the organization as a whole. She currently advocates for three youth in two separate counties--a testament to her work ethic and commitment to giving back as much as she can. Aside from her stellar advocacy, she has even used her platform to host several livestream fundraising events for CASA of CGS, through which raised over $1000 for our amazing CASA youth. She is always going above and beyond, and that never goes unnoticed.

“Compassionate, selfless, reliable, and determined are only a few words that describe Taylor,” said Michele Musick, Gloucester County Advocate Coordinator. “I admire her perseverance with somewhat of an atypical case as she advocated fearlessly and unapologetically in which she soared with grace. She is a great addition to our CASA program and will play an integral part in our transitional youth program. Our CASA program and youth have been blessed. Thank you, Taylor, for answering the call.”

More than anything, Taylor values the connections she makes as a CASA volunteer--connections with other CASA volunteers and staff, with CASA families, and, most importantly, with the CASA youth she serves.

“The most rewarding part about being a CASA volunteer are those connections--feeling like you’re really making an impact,” said Taylor. “When you feel like you’ve gotten through to the kids and made progress with the relationship, you feel like you’re actually making a difference. Watching them trust me enough to open up--that’s the best thing. It’s those little moments. Seeing them happy, supported, encouraged, and motivated for their futures.”

Whether it’s making recommendations to the court or livestreaming book reviews, Taylor always puts her all into everything she does, and we are so lucky to have someone with such a positive and motivated attitude on our CASA of CGS team. She is a force of good and an unwavering presence in her CASA youth’s lives, and we are proud to call her our Advocate of the Month. Congratulations, Taylor--you deserve it!

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Congratulations Taylor!!!!

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