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September Advocate of the Month: Giavanna Ross

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

A South Jersey native, Giavanna Ross has only been part of the CASA of CGS team for less than a year, but she has already touched the lives of a handful of youth in need in communities spanning the corners of South Jersey.

Giavanna is dedicated to CASA’s mission of advocating for abused and neglected children in court, and has proved that working full-time will not slow her down from volunteering. She currently juggles a whopping four cases--while the norm is typically one to two cases at a time per volunteer. Her commitment and drive is commendable, and our team at CASA of CGS knew from the start that she would make a remarkable advocate.

“From working with her through her pre-service training, I knew Giavanna would be an amazing advocate,” said Julia Frank, Training and Recruitment Coordinator. “She has such a passion for helping children and a huge heart to do it. I am so happy she has found her home with us at CASA.”

A long-time friend of Cumberland County Advocate Coordinator Kari Vazquez, Giavanna learned about CASA, coincidentally, from a post that Kari shared on social media.

“I’ve known her for over 14 years as we used to be coworkers,” said Kari. “She was extremely hardworking even back then, and very dedicated to her responsibilities. She cares deeply, which shows through her work. I am so proud of her and grateful for social media for keeping me connected to someone who is rocking this advocacy thing better than I could have ever imagined.”

Giavanna, who had always wanted to adopt a child from foster care, knew instinctively that volunteering for CASA of CGS was what she was meant to do.

“It’s important for the kids to have one dedicated person that’s all about them,” Giavanna expressed.

And even though she lives in Cape May County, she goes out of her way to help children in need no matter how far, with a passion especially for children who are aging out of the foster care system.

“Before Giavanna was even sworn in, she knew exactly that she wanted to help serve young adults that were transitioning out of the system,” said Cara Zoppina, Salem County Advocate Coordinator. “She is very passionate about ensuring that these individuals have a caring adult to help them on a path to make their dreams a reality. I think if you look close enough you can see Giavanna’s super hero cape tucked into her shirt. Thank you for being a superhero to four young adults and for truly being a blessing to our CASA family.”

For Giavanna, distance doesn’t matter; she just wants to be there for the kids. She serves children in several counties, and enjoys helping transitional youth make plans to get on their feet once they age out of the foster care system--and she makes sure to have fun while doing it! She recently went all-out for one of her CASA kids’ birthdays, making him a custom cake with special presents--something he has never had before. Experiencing his excitement was heartwarming for her, and her thoughtfulness is appreciated by both the children she serves and CASA staff.

“Giavanna is an outstanding advocate for our youth. She’s sensitive, focused, and incredibly reliable. I think her heart may be specially made to hold more than an average heart!” said Jennifer Henderson, Program Director of CASA of CGS. “In her short time with our program she has already invested her interest in learning how to speak Spanish to serve children who are bilingual, was selected to attend a limited training with community partners to improve outcomes for children, and has worked tirelessly to help coordinate fundraising efforts to benefit the children we serve. Her commitment to make the lives of others better is incredible to watch and I’m grateful our team has been able to experience her efforts. She’s exceptional!

From organizing virtual fundraising events for CASA of CGS’s Give a Child Hope Fund to learning Spanish to better serve the children in our communities, Giavanna sets an exceptional example as a volunteer advocate. She is always going above and beyond to ensure that our CASA children are loved, supported, and always have someone by their side who is looking out for their best interests.

“This experience will change your life more than you can think. You think you're making a difference in kids’ lives, but they're making a difference in yours,” Giavanna said.

Thank you for all you do Giavanna--your hard work never goes unnoticed! Congratulations on Advocate of the Month!

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