Voices for Children honors Del Mar resident Bonnie Grossman as 2023 CASA Volunteer of the Year
Bonnie Grossman has advocated for four children living in foster care over the past seven years
Founded in 1980, Voices for Children transforms the lives of children in foster care by providing them with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). These volunteers – trained and supported by Voices for Children – advocate for youth in court, school, medical settings, and more to ensure their needs are met. Over time, a CASA often becomes the most consistent adult in the life of a child in foster care. Each year, the organization honors one special volunteer who has gone above and beyond in advocating for foster care youth. The Voices for Children 2023 San Diego CASA of the Year is Del Mar resident Bonnie Grossman, according to a news release.
Grossman, by profession, is a local landscape architect with many years of experience in the arts, most recently as the Del Mar Arts Advisory Committee chair. She lives with cystic fibrosis (CF) and received a lung transplant in 2015, significantly improving her well-being. After being given a second chance at life, Grossman honored her organ donor, who was a woman, by dedicating herself to helping children. In speaking with her college roommate, a CASA in Los Angeles, Grossman saw herself becoming a CASA and using the unique skills gained from being a patient for years to advocate for a child in need. After her post-transplant recovery, she contacted Voices for Children. She attended an information session, submitted her application, completed 35 hours of “Advocate University” training, and was assigned to her first youth.
CASA Bonnie Grossman has been a fierce champion for children in foster care for seven years, having advocated for four children. This includes her current case youth, who met Grossman at the height of the pandemic in 2020. The advocacy of CASA volunteers is vital to promoting the health and safety of children and youth in foster care. Children in foster care have often experienced abuse and neglect. Foster care placement compounds their already challenging circumstances with court hearings, social workers, attorneys, new homes, and new schools. A CASA like Grossman can, over time, become a hopeful presence in a child’s life and the one person who is always there to listen. She puts so much effort into the role of a CASA: she is patient, tenacious, empathetic, kind, and moves mountains for her assigned youth.
Since 2020, Grossman has been a guiding light for a then-15-year-old youth who has been in foster care since he was seven. When she first met him, she knew he was brilliant and had a deep soul. Many CASAs hold educational rights for their assigned child, which means they serve as the point-person for the youth’s academic needs. Grossman has worked tirelessly to build his confidence and motivate him academically by taking on his educational rights and ensuring he attended a school that challenged and nurtured his interest in the sciences. She even supported him in acquiring his first internship with a biotech company. With Grossman by his side, he is becoming an articulate young man who can advocate for himself.
“Being a CASA and working with my youth is replacing a hole in my heart and filling in a rewarding gap in my life,” said Grossman in the news release. “This recognition humbles me, but the biggest honor is watching him grow into a resilient young man and helping him have a better life.”
“Bonnie Grossman is a perfect example of how a CASA is the glue between the youth and school, the court, the social worker, and all the agencies involved,” said Voices for Children’s President & CEO Jessica Muñoz, Esq., MFS in the news release. “Bonnie knows what it means to advocate for somebody, being supportive, strong, and tender in helping our community’s most vulnerable populations — children in foster care — for the last seven years. We are grateful for her commitment to Voices for Children and her dedication to the youth we serve.”
Grossman will be honored at Voices for Children’s annual Starry Starry Night gala at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park on Thursday, Sept. 28.
Learn more about Voices for Children at speakupnow.org
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