October 22, 2020
Board member builds support and community
Harriet Zaretsky has been an enthusiastic supporter of CASA of Los Angeles for nearly three decades, serving as a volunteer advocate for more than 20 years before joining the board of directors, which she now chairs. This year, she was named National CASA/GAL’s Board Member of the Year, recognizing her outstanding leadership and commitment to CASA of Los Angeles.
Harriet first learned about the CASA program when her children were young, and thought this would be the perfect volunteer position when her children got older due to her special education training and her law degree. Though many might have let this notion pass, Harriet followed through, and when both of her children were in school, she became a CASA volunteer.
“I truly believe that if you want to do something meaningful, there’s nothing like it,” says Harriet of her experience with CASA of Los Angeles.
The CASA volunteer role gave her the opportunity to really focus on issues, use her knowledge and utilize her skills. She’s continued to hone her skills as a board member, and served four years on the CASA of Los Angeles board before becoming chair.
As a board member, she’s helped to increase visibility, generating much needed support for the program. Harriet also values the community that is forming among board members, and she has helped to forge these connections and increase engagement.
When Harriet’s son Dillon passed away in 2007, she found a way to honor him through her advocacy, and established a special needs fund in his memory with CASA of Los Angeles. From summer camps and sports equipment to medical devices and scholarship support, Dillon’s Fund has helped hundreds of children and youth over the last decade get the services and support they need.
“The CASA mission is pure,” says Harriet. She knows that the impact a volunteer can make on a child in foster care is immeasurable. “Any CASA volunteer with any child – you change a child’s story.”