Meet Our Advocates: Mary Ann Sanidad

In honor of Foster Care Awareness Month, we’re shining the spotlight on our Court Appointed Special Advocate Mary Ann Sanidad, for her commitment to SHOWING UP for foster youth.    

CASA Volunteer: Mary Ann Sanidad (MEH-ree-an SA-nee-DHAD) She/her/hers

Years of Service with Child Advocates of Silicon Valley:  5

Number of Children Served: 2


After over two decades of teaching at a community college as an ESL (English as a Second Language) professor, Mary Ann decided to retire and dedicate her time to being of service through volunteer work. Raised in a household where her parents generously welcomed foster youth, Mary Ann was inspired to carry forward the legacy of LIFTING UP foster youth. 

“ I grew up alongside my foster sisters who were 7 and 9 when they first entered our home. Later, my parents adopted two kids, continuing their commitment to providing a nurturing home for foster youth.”

Mary Ann goes on to explain that her parents not only focused on supporting foster youth but extended their support to the parents with the goal of reunification. In cases where reunification wasn’t possible, they sought connections to extended family or means to maintain the youth’s ties to their cultural and ancestral roots. 

“ Maintaining the foster youth’s identity is important. I know for myself how strongly I connect with my family and identities. For children going through the foster care system, it’s important to maintain their sense of self and belonging within their community.”


The seed of becoming a CASA Volunteer was planted years before Mary Ann took the first step, by learning about Child Advocates through a conversation with a friend. When she began looking for ways to support foster youth, Mary Ann remembered the conversation and decided to look further into becoming a CASA. 

In her role, Mary Ann has shown unwavering commitment to the foster youth assigned to her by consistently SHOWING UP.  When Mary Ann first met Victoria*, her most recently assigned foster youth, Victoria understandably had her barriers up when meeting someone new due to previous negative experiences. By consistently being there for Victoria, Mary Ann demonstrated that she was committed to supporting her in any way possible. Over time Victoria opened up and since then Mary Ann has been able to offer her the support she needs. 

“ I shopped for Victoria at the CASA Store and brought her gifts during one of our visits. She was so appreciative about the fact that someone had SHOWN UP for her. Even though initially she was distant with me, she now knows that there is someone in her corner.“

“It’s important to remember that when serving foster youth, it’s not about you but about whatever the youth needs and meeting them where they are at. Stick with them and try to do whatever you can for them.”


Mary Ann with her Granddaughter

Mary Ann not only follows in her parents’ footsteps of LIFTING UP foster youth but has also inspired her daughter to continue the family’s legacy. Mary Ann’s daughter has decided to open her home to foster youth and become a foster parent outside of California. Through her experience as a CASA, Mary Ann provides her daughter with guidance and resources on how to best be there for foster youth. 

Mary Ann’s message to anyone considering becoming a CASA Volunteer is to be there for the youth consistently and remember that anyone can take the first step. 

“There are so many kids out there that need that extra person. You can really make a difference in someone’s life by just SHOWING UP.”

*An alias was used to preserve the privacy of the child.


Picture from one of Mary Ann’s trips.

TV Show Recommendation(s): Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite Movie: You’ve Got Mail

Book Recommendation(s): Books from Maeve Binchy

Favorite Music Artist: Andrea Bocelli

Favorite Type of Food: Italian food, especially from Palermo Italian Restaurant

Favorite Place: Italy, France and Spain

Favorite Hobbies: Cooking, reading and traveling

Support Foster Youth Today

Here are just a few of the ways you can SHOW UP for foster youth this month: 

  1. Take the first step to advocating for foster youth. Attend an informational session to learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer.
  2. Support our CASA Program and invest in our foster youth with a financial contribution. You can also check with your company to see if they match employee donations.
  1. Become a Corporate Champion by sponsoring an activity or one of our fundraising events. Email us at to learn how your company can be a part of the solution for foster kids.
  1. Follow us on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.