September is the beginning of the fall season, as well as the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. That is why this September, we want to highlight and thank the fantastic Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer, Joe Nuñez, for advocating for his foster youth as a Mentor, Advocate, and Voice. Get to know him beyond his advocacy.
September Advocate Spotlight: Joe Nuñez, CASA Volunteer
Years of service with Child Advocates of Silicon Valley: 1.5 Years
Number of children served: 1 total
Currently residing in Gilroy, CA, also known as the “Garlic Capital of the World”, Joe Nunez, is an Aquarius, a CASA Volunteer, a proud father to three adorable dogs and believes that carne asada street tacos are truly superior to all other food options.
Originally looking into adoption with his husband, Joe and his partner felt like it was not the right time to do so. However, Joe still wanted to give back to youth locally. Joe has friends who are CASA Volunteers and they reminded him about the CASA Program. In 2021, during the midst of the pandemic, Joe had more time to give back and took the opportunity to become a CASA Volunteer. Once Joe completed training and became sworn in as a CASA, he chose a case that he felt he could impact the most.
“I chose my current case because upon reading their profile, I felt like they needed a CASA Volunteer the most and where I could make the most impact. I am glad that I am their CASA Volunteer and can truly make a difference.” – Joe Nuñez
Joe’s first meeting with his youth is by far his favorite memory. Their first meeting took place at a local Panda Express where they got lunch together and just talked. He was amazed by how humble and quickly his youth opened up to him. During their first meeting, Joe also emphasized to this youth that he is more than just another person to come and go, but rather someone who is on his youth’s side and will constantly be there for them.
For Joe, becoming a CASA Volunteer and advocating for his youth has been a continuous learning experience. He is grateful to his CASA Specialist and the social worker for answering all of his questions and supporting him, especially when he first became his youth’s Educational Rights Holder. As an educational rights holder, Joe has the right and responsibilities to advocate for his youth at their school that extends beyond the role of a traditional CASA Volunteer. Joe regularly attends individualized education program (IEP) meetings with his youth’s team to see where the youth’s pattern of strengths and weaknesses are to determine goals, services and accommodations needed to support their educational growth. As an educational rights holder, Joe has helped enroll his youth in school. He also meets with his youth in regard to attendance and checks in to see how they are doing academically.
“As an educational rights holder, I can be more involved and advocate for my youth by asking the right questions and making sure that what I am signing off on will benefit my youth academically.” – Joe Nuñez
As a CASA Volunteer that identifies as LGBTQ+ and Hispanic, Joe is able to connect with his youth and demonstrate that a person’s identity and culture should be celebrated, not concealed.
Unfortunately, foster youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or Hispanic face an increased risk of negative experiences and outcomes when in foster care.
“Since becoming a CASA Volunteer, I have different perspectives on things that foster youth might see as a luxury such as housing. My youth hasn’t had a consistent living situation for longer than two or three nights in a row. As a CASA Volunteer, I can be that constant in their life, and make sure that they are staying in a more stable environment where they feel safe and secure.” – Joe Nuñez
Having at least one accepting adult like a CASA Volunteer can help change the life trajectory of foster youth. If you or anyone that you know has the time commitment and wants to become a CASA Volunteer, sign up below. (Bilingual Spanish-speaking CASA Volunteers needed.)
Fun Facts About Joe:
Favorite TV Show To Binge: Joe is watching the Emmy Award-winning tv show Schitt’s Creek for the fourth time. He says it is a must-watch comedy to decompress to after a long work day.
Current Book You Are Reading: Joe is currently reading The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi.
Podcast You Can’t Stop Listening To: Joe just cannot stop listening and raving about the podcast, Unlocking Us by professor and author Brené Brown. Unlock your greatness with Brené Brown through deep conversations that can help one live, love, parent and lead with more courage and heart.
Favorite Place You’ve Traveled To: Joe’s absolute favorite place that he has traveled to was Spain, mainly Barcelona. He cannot wait to revisit the magical place of Spain someday soon.
Favorite Hobbies: Joe spends his free time reading, doing Crossfit and playing piano, especially music by the musical vocalist Adele, as well as Chopin.
Best Advice: “Acceptance is the answer” – said by a really good friend.
Support Hispanic Foster Youth
This month, we ask you to SHOW UP and support the work we do alongside Joe to help LIFT UP our foster youth. Here are the many ways you can help:
- If you or anyone you know would be interested in becoming an Advocate for foster youth, sign up now!
- Invest in our foster youth by making a financial donation to support our CASA Program and the children we serve. View if your company offers a company match on Double the Donation.
- Join us at our BOLDEST event at Passion, Fashion & Everything Bold for a soiree dedicated to fierce women and a few fashionable men in support of foster youth on Sunday, October 9, 2022 at the Hayes Mansion. Purchase your tickets to our Bold Event.
- You can shop for specific items that our foster kids need, such as toys, school supplies, clothing, toiletries and more, by visiting our Amazon Charity List.