Meet Our Advocates: Rasheeda Raji

This February, we want to honor and highlight the outstanding Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer, Rasheeda Raji, for LIFTING UP foster youth through celebration, culture and care. Get to know her beyond her advocacy.

February Advocate Spotlight: Rasheeda Raji, CASA Volunteer (She/Her/Hers)

Years of service with Child Advocates of Silicon Valley: 3.5 Year

Number of children served: 2 total

New York City native, Rasheeda Raji, moved to the Bay Area in 2013, after completing law school in Washington, DC. Although Rasheeda decided that family law wasn’t for her and shifted into employee relations, she wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. Upon hearing about the CASA Program through her cousin, a former foster youth who had both a CASA Volunteer and a guardian ad litem, Rasheeda was interested to see if there was such a program here in the Bay Area. That’s when she found Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. Once Rasheeda had the time to commit, she went through the process and in 2019, she officially became a CASA Volunteer. 

“I wanted to do something to help youth and also in a quasi-legal capacity. It was a great fit with my legal background and the ability to make a difference in a foster youth’s life.” – Rasheeda Raji

When it came time to select a case, Rasheeda read a teen’s profile that stood out to her because the teen lived less than five miles away from her house. With proximity being so close, Rasheeda knew they were destined to be a part of each other’s life. Some days, Rasheeda would walk over to her teen’s placement and hang out with them because it was that convenient. Although they have a strong bond now, that wasn’t the case when they first met. Initially, it was difficult for her teen to embrace her. Never having a consistent adult figure in her life, her teen was understandably hesitant to welcome someone new. In time, Rasheeda comforted her teen and let her know she wasn’t going to go anywhere. 

“It’s more challenging for the youth because I am not experiencing what they’re experiencing. As an Advocate, I made sure to go above and beyond to show my teen that I am going to help her the best that I can.” – Rasheeda Raji

Being a transgender teen who also identifies as Muslim, Rasheeda’s teen felt that no adult could understand her and her culture. However, Rasheeda, whose father is an observant Muslim, could relate to her teen on a much deeper level. The cultural fit between the teen and Rasheeda brings comfort and is something the teen is extremely grateful for. Unfortunately, after feeling that others were not there for her, like Rasheeda has been, her teen’s mental health declined. Rasheeda’s teen requested a therapist, so has her CASA, she created an action plan to ensure that her teen’s mental health was being looked after. Even though Rasheeda’s teen was in therapy, her teen felt that the therapists were not as understanding. It is still an ongoing process to find a therapist that her teen feels is more of a cultural fit; however, her teen is thankful that Rasheeda continues to be there with her along this journey. 

“Her culture was a need for her that could not be met through the County of Santa Clara or her Child and Family Team (CFT). I come from a Muslim and immigrant familial background; therefore I could relate with my teen’s parents and culture, which is what my teen was looking for.” – Rasheeda Raji 

Even though the location was convenient and Rasheeda was there to support her teen’s ongoing mental health journey, there were still other struggles that the teen faced, most prominently, housing insecurity. Rasheeda once again stepped into action and worked with the social worker and her CASA Supervisor to find resources to help her teen’s housing dilemma. Soon after, the youth’s social worker secured an apartment for her teen by facilitating housing with the County of Santa Clara. 

Now, at 19 years old, her teen has an apartment and feels at peace, having a place of her own and not having to worry about being kicked out. Recently, her young adult teen welcomed Rasheeda to her home for a housewarming! Seeing her teen evolve into a young adult has been one of Rasheeda’s favorite moments as a CASA Volunteer. Being a gracious host, her teen had sushi and apple cider ready for Rasheeda as they caught up and spent quality time together. 

“My teen is someone that I met at 16 who is now 19 making so many strides. I’m getting to watch her evolve as a young adult and it’s so gratifying to see. She now has a place of her own and doesn’t feel as scared regarding housing insecurity.” – Rasheeda Raji

In her free time, Rasheeda’s teen uses social media to discuss important topics such as transgender awareness and activism. As her teen quickly grew a massive following, this led her to a great opportunity to star in an upcoming commercial in Los Angeles for a local LGBTQ+ agency. Rasheeda’s teen is also excited to start YearUp to learn skills as she starts exploring career opportunities.

Fun Facts About Rasheeda:

TV shows that you’re currently binge watching: Rasheeda is currently watching a short miniseries called Unorthodox on Netflix. The show is about a young woman who wishes to leave her unhappy marriage and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in New York to start a better life in Germany. Rasheeda is also an avid cartoon watcher, and one of her favorite cartoons is Bob’s Burgers. She loves the cartoon so much that she even owns the Bob’s Burger cookbook! (pictured right)

Must watch movies: Rasheeda’s movie recommendations are The Five Heartbeats, a 1991 film that depicts the rhythms and blues vocal group by the same name and the rise and fall of Motown. Her other movie recommendation is Edward Scissorhands, the cult classic romantic fantasy film directed by Tim Burton. 

Favorite places to travel to: Rasheeda’s two go-to places in the U.S. are Vegas and New Orleans, mostly for the vibes and because there is always something to do there. As Rasheeda says, “Life’s too short so go out there and enjoy it!” 

Support Foster Youth Today

This month, you can give gratitude by giving back and SHOW UP for our foster youth. Here are the many ways you can help: 

  1. 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
  1. 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 to learn how your company can be a part of the solution for foster kids.
  1. You can follow us on social media. We are active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  1. Join us at the Black, White & Pink Ball!  Enjoy a night out in your latest formal attire (black tie optional), as we celebrate the work we do to support  foster youth. Purchase your ticket now.
  1. You can help foster kids in Silicon Valley by enjoying a nice day outside at the 7th annual Foster5K + Kids Dash. Register now and receive a goodie bag and a chance to win raffle prizes.