According to CASA’s press release, “Her selfless dedication and tireless devotion to advocating for the abused and neglected children of Lucas County” will be celebrated at a special luncheon at the Lucas County Juvenile Court on October 31st when Juvenile Court Judges Denise Navarre Cubbon and Connie Zemmelman will present her with the Power-of-One Award.
Lucas County CASA Director Carol Martin stated that: “María González is a CASA treasure. Trained in the fall class of 2001, María has taken 19 cases and served 37 child victims in the past decade. Her focus is steadfast, her persistence and diligence on her cases are unmatched. She is an amazing, loving woman, and we feel fortunate to have her on the CASA team.”
Ms. González, a mother of three daughters and grandmother of six, is also active in the Latino community. In 1998 she was honored by the Latino community, receiving the Diamante Award for being an outstanding community member. For the past two years she has served as the Diamante Award’s Event Coordinator. Additionally, she founded the Puerto Rican Club in 1994 (Club Taino), a nonprofit organization to promote and share Puerto Rican culture. Over the years, she has served in various positions and is once again the club’s president.
González is one of two bilingual CASA volunteers for Lucas County CASA. Five percent of Lucas County CASA cases involve Latino families; María is assigned cases in which Spanish is the family’s native language. She understands that her Spanish is a tremendous asset. She says she can see the families relax when she greets them, knowing they can speak to her easily.
She adds that it is more than just language; it’s the culture she can also relate to. She explains, “I know what is expected of the children, the parents and the grandparents in the Latino culture. It is comfortable for me to work with them.”
The mission of CASA is to train volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers interview all the parties involved in an abuse or neglect case, uncover the facts of the case, investigate the child’s past and present circumstances, and make recommendations to the judge about what should happen to make that child’s life better.
Editor’s Note: A significant need for CASA volunteers, and especially Spanish speaking volunteers, exists. For information on becoming a CASA volunteer in Lucas County, visit the Lucas County CASA website at www.casakids.net, call the CASA Office at 419-213-6753, or email [email protected].