Unlike the leaves whose colors will change this month, one thing that will never change is the heart and dedication that Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Mentor and Volunteer, Dora Beyer, has for supporting foster youth. This October, we would like to highlight our extraordinary CASA Mentor, Dora, for her work and commitment to empowering the voice of our youth and our CASAs.
October Advocate Spotlight: Dora Beyer, CASA Mentor
Years of service with Child Advocates of Silicon Valley: 7 Years
Number of children served: 1 total
People often assume that with Beyer as a last name, Dora is not Hispanic. She can reassure you that she is, in fact, 100% Hispanic (but with some German roots that 23&Me can probably better break down). Her family history dates back to her great-great-grandfather escaping war in Germany on a French boat headed to Mexico. From there, her father’s side of the family grew up in Mexico City and eventually came to the United States. Dora is a proud Mexican-American that continuously dedicates her time professionally and personally to help support underrepresented and under-resourced communities, especially teens and young adults.
Dora’s first recollection of anything related to the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program was when her family-owned business, Alladin Nursey, located in Watsonville, was having a special tabling event that CASA of Santa Cruz County also attended. Since then, Dora knew becoming a CASA Volunteer was something she needed to do. It took years until she felt secure and stable enough to be a CASA and make the long commitment to help foster youth thrive. 2015 was the year that Dora became a CASA with Child Advocates. When it was time to choose a youth, she was asked to take on a teen, which ended up being a great match! Dora felt like she and her teen were very similar as both are Spanish-speaking with Mexican heritage, and both are the oldest siblings in their family.
“It’s great to have volunteers who are familiar with the youth’s culture; a way to relate as a starting point.” – Dora Beyer
Having years of experience working with first-generation teens and young adults to help bridge the educational equity gap, Dora was eager to use her skills to help Mentor, Advocate, and emphasize her teen’s Voice as a CASA Volunteer.
Dora admires the framework Child Advocates provides for CASAs and Mentors because the voice of foster youth needs to be heard. Youth in the foster care system cannot advocate for themselves in Court, so as a CASA Volunteer, Dora used her voice to be her teen’s “boombox” and ensure that her teen’s needs and wants were being heard.
“Child Advocates has been very receptive to the needs of foster youth, and they empower CASA volunteers to represent their youth and speak to those need in Court and all places where they must have a voice.” – Dora Beyer
During Dora’s time as a CASA, she emphasized the importance of structure, building trust and regular one-on-one meetings with her teen. Together they would have coffee chats, go on hikes or study. Like a moth to a flame, Dora and her teen would “catch the wifi” wherever possible.
Her teen was not engaged in school up to her sophomore year. Dora made it a point to help her teen create healthier habits, build structure, be able to tell her story and become a confident communicator. Weekly, they would go to Starbucks and work together. Building consistency and supporting her teen in education helped her get back on track with school. These healthy habits also went beyond teaching, such as different hobbies and eating choices.
“It was never about the grades; it was about finding healthy habits and balance. For example, she loved to eat takis and even though I advised her to avoid them before dinner, she’d eat them and have a stomach ache after. As a CASA, I cannot give a right or wrong answer, but I do have the ability to create opportunities and offer choices. Going to different restaurants, studying more frequently and creating different hobbies, such as hiking, helped build those healthy habits for her.” – Dora Beyer
Most foster youth do not have the same experiences as their peers due to different upbringings, so Dora made it a mission to create fun memories with her teen in order to experience the joys of life and childhood. One memory Dora vividly remembers is when she, her teen, and her teen’s sister went to Eastridge Mall, where a fair was held with giant slides that they all agreed to go on. Even though Dora had not been on a slide in years, she was determined to go on and have fun with them. Arms locked together, the trio slid down on a potato sack. As mortifying as it was, it was also exhilarating and fun!
“As long as I am in her life, I will aim to ensure that she has a home, someone to rely on and someone she can trust. As a CASA, my role is to help provide security and stability and help build her sense of self. The CASA Program empowers their Voice so they may thrive and know that there are no limits to who they can become.” – Dora Beyer
Dora reminisces on a conversation where her teen told her that she was stuck with her forever. Dora responded with an evil laugh saying, “No, you’re stuck with ME forever.” Ever since then, they have been inseparable.
Fun Facts About Dora:
Favorite Movie To Watch: Dora’s favorite movie to watch is the 2016 released science-fiction film, Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.
Current Book You Are Reading: Dora is currently reading the book, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, written by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
A band that you can’t stop listening to: A band that Dora is always listening to is Florence and the Machine, which she actually saw live in October at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.
Favorite dessert: Dora’s favorite desserts are dark chocolate, chocolate ice cream and chocolate chip cookies.
Favorite Hobby: Dora’s favorite hobby is hiking.
Support Hispanic Foster Youth
This month, we ask you to SHOW UP and support our work alongside Dora 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.
- Become a Corporate Champion by sponsoring our fundraising events or one of the many activities we host for the children we serve. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how your company can be a part of the solution for foster kids.
- 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.