Hiker, Mountain Lover, and Gloucester County CASA Advocate
Occupational therapist, full-time professor, and CASA volunteer advocate, Mary Kientz’s passion for helping others reach their full potential shines from every corner of her life. Whether it’s working with children with disabilities as an OT or helping a child achieve permanency as a CASA advocate, Mary wakes up each morning committed to the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to live a full life regardless of their abilities or the challenges they have faced.
Mary has volunteered since her children were little, trying to help out however she could. After spending time on her local school board, she was looking for a change as her children got older. Flipping through her newspaper one day, she spotted an ad: “Volunteers Needed to Help Serve Local Foster Youth.” With her extensive experience in pediatrics, solid knowledge base of child development, and access to a host of local resources, she knew CASA would be a perfect fit. Flash forward to nearly 3 years later, and she is still rocking it!
“Mary’s professionalism is outstanding and her resourcefulness is beyond impressive! I love reading Mary’s court reports because I know she has put the time in to carefully consider the best interest of each of the children she serves,” says Program Director Jennifer Henderson. “Mary has a way of remaining objective, yet focused even when things become overwhelmingly stressful or emotional. Her level of thinking, combined with her passion to improve children’s lives, makes her such a strong advocate. I am also grateful for the time Mary takes out of her day to complete trainings, contact logs, and her court reports. She never seeks recognition but absolutely deserves a huge round of applause and a giant hug. She’s a true CASA advocate and I’m so proud to have her on our team.”
“Mary is a great addition to our CASA family,” adds her Gloucester County Advocate Coordinator, Michele Musick. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our program that I value and cherish. The support she has given her CASA children and resource family without a doubt contributed to a happy ending. Our program has been blessed by Mary’s decision to become a CASA and I enjoy her words of wisdom and friendship.”
Mary pulls from her years of experience as an Occupational Therapist to advocate for her CASA children, and she is grateful for all she has continued to learn along the way as a volunteer. From discovering the legal processes behind serving foster children to better understanding what these children, and their families, go through, she remains driven to support CASA youth along their journey to achieving permanency, and is rewarded each day from the experience.
“I think the most impactful moment I experienced was when I wrote a letter to court on behalf of one of my CASA children for tutoring services,” says Mary. “The state wanted to stop tutoring, but the Judge read my letter and ruled in the child's favor. They continued providing the services because of what I recommended, and I really felt like I made an impact.”
Mary always goes above and beyond for CASA, both in our network and out in the community. She is constantly searching for CASA recruits and teaching her students about the work we do, helping us grow our organization to provide every foster youth in our three counties with the support and advocacy of a CASA volunteer.
We are so incredibly grateful for the constant hard work you put in and the love and support you provide for each CASA child you serve. Thank you for making a difference with us, Mary--your hard work never goes unnoticed!