SEATTLE, WA—June 7, 2022—The National CASA/GAL Association for Children named Kevin Gardner, Chair of the Board of Directors of California CASA, as “Board Member of the Year” at its annual Awards of Excellence ceremony in Seattle, Washington. Each year, the Awards of Excellence recognize and celebrate those individuals and programs that have demonstrated efforts to positively impact the future of children and families in their communities. The ceremony took place as part of the National CASA/GAL annual conference that celebrated 40 years of impact with the theme “Leading the Way to Brighter Futures,” and brought together 950 CASA programs from around the nation.
The Hon. Anthony Capizzi presented the Award of Excellence for Board Member of the Year to Kevin Gardner and remarked that, “Over the past 26 years, Kevin has exemplified CASA leadership, innovation, devotion, and passion, making significant contributions to the cause of California’s foster youth and advocacy across 44 counties.”
Kevin Gardner currently serves as Chair of the California CASA Board of Directors and has been a member of the Board since 2004. He has also served on the Board of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County’s CASA program. He started his affiliation with CASA in 1996 when he became a volunteer advocate for two teenagers, 15 and 17. California CASA CEO, Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq., lauded Kevin’s inspirational work on behalf of children in California that led to this recognition as National CASA/GAL’s Board Member of the Year: “Kevin exemplifies the best of CASA – he is a servant-leader who has only the best interests of foster youth in mind, and he has led our organization with integrity, inspiration, and vision. There are currently almost 13,000 children in California benefiting from the caring support of a CASA volunteer, but with an estimated 46,000 who still need an advocate, our work is far from done. Kevin strengthens California CASA in so many ways that will help us meet the challenges we face in serving more youth across the state.”
During the nomination process, the Honorable Patricia Bresee (ret.), described Kevin’s engagement on behalf of youth throughout the years: “I have known Kevin Gardner for over 30 years, and in my decades of CASA involvement I have never met anyone with the absolute commitment and dedication to the CASA mission that Kevin exemplifies; and always with a spirit of joy in service.”
In receiving the Award of Excellence, Kevin Gardner remarked, “Before I was a CASA board member, I was an Advocate volunteer for a 15-year-old boy. I’ll call him Andrew. Through Andrew, I learned first-hand what the CASA mission was all about, serving children both inside and outside of the courtroom. Andrew was simply trying to live his best life. But he didn’t have any support or role model of what that could even look like. This struggle belongs to every one of our CASA children and I think of Andrew every time we start a board meeting or gather CASA staff and programs together. This is the heart of what we do and I’m so proud to accept this award and be a part of the CASA mission.”
About CAL CASA
California CASA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization ensuring that children and youth in California’s foster care system have both a voice and the services they need for a stable future. California CASA connects the 44 county CASA programs in the state to raise awareness of the need for Court Appointed Special Advocates and provides support, counsel, resources, and oversight to maintain high-quality programs statewide that serve children’s best interests. California CASA is a member of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children.