Meet Joanne Pedersen, CASA Volunteer

Pederson, JoannePassion, dedication and a commitment to her CASA kid is what makes Joanne Pedersen an ideal CASA volunteer. After witnessing what children in foster care go through in the court system, Joanne knew she was meant to be a CASA.

Who is Joanne Pedersen?

Joanne Pedersen is a full-time Practice Manager at Willamette Dental Group. She has a warm smile and an infectious laugh. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Why did Joanne become a CASA volunteer?

Joanne feels that working in the dental field has a lot of rewards, but she wanted to do something that would make a difference in the life of a child.  Joanne says, “I started working in the dental field to pay for graduate school, but I always envisioned that I would work with children. CASA gives me the opportunity to focus on kids.”

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Meet Kelsey Beyer, CASA Volunteer

KelseyBeyerBetween caring for family, working full time, speaking at numerous CASA events, and being a Peer Coordinator, Kelsey Beyer is busy but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She tells us she is going to volunteer for CASA until she is 100 years old!

Who is Kelsey Beyer?

Kelsey is a full-time Practice Manager at Willamette Dental Group. She also helps to care for her 92 year old grandmother and is helping to raise her teenage niece. Kelsey is not one to say no to helping others. Recently, a friend called and asked her to help catch a stray cat and her litter of kittens. Kelsey found herself with a flashlight at 11 p.m. searching neighborhood bushes for the cat and kittens.

Kelsey has been a CASA volunteer since 2010 and a Peer Coordinator (PC) for the last 4 years. PCs are experienced CASAs who have been trained to coach a small team of CASA volunteers. They provide support and direction when needed. Kelsey says, “As a PC, you’re coaching and cheerleading so that the CASA doesn’t feel alone on their case and has the support she/he needs.” PCs also provide back-up in the event that a CASA is unable to attend a meeting or a hearing due to illness or scheduling conflicts.

Why did Kelsey become a CASA volunteer?

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Meet Theresa Thompson, CASA Volunteer

Thompson, TheresaA passion for helping disadvantaged kids is what fuels Theresa Thompson and why she became a CASA volunteer in June 2013. She is in the process of closing her first case and is currently working a second case.

Who is Theresa Thompson?

Theresa says she is retired but you wouldn’t know it from how active she is in her community. Looking back, she wonders how she ever found time to work. Between Rotary, her church and being an active grandmother who cares for a 3-year-old granddaughter two days a week, Theresa has also been involved with American Red Cross. She is on the disaster assistance team. Their job is to assist community members with acquiring necessary resources to help get them through the days immediately following a disaster like a fire or flood. Theresa also spends as much time as she can with a second granddaughter in Arizona.

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Meet Mo Young, CASA Volunteer

MoYoungPersonal experience created a spark, but changing lives is what fuels Mo Young’s passion for volunteering with CASA. Mo’s mother was on the Board of Directors for CASA in the late 90’s, so as a young person she was aware of how important the organization is and how it helps kids in her community.

As an adult, when Mo and her family decided to adopt a child through the foster care system, they had the pleasure of working with a CASA from Portland. Now Mo is paying it forward for other children and creating an example for her own daughter, like her mother did when she was a child.

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Meet Mary Beth Lennox, CASA Volunteer


As a retired elementary school teacher and an active grandmother, advocating for children comes naturally for Mary Beth Lennox. She is currently working on her first case and has been a CASA volunteer since January of 2014.

Who is Mary Beth Lennox?

While chatting over coffee, it was clear to see what makes Mary Beth makes a great CASA volunteer. She has a warm smile and a welcoming presence. She is a thoughtful listener and when she talks about advocating for her CASA kids, there is a deep fire burning behind her eyes.

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Meet Mackie Swan, CASA Volunteer

MackieMackie Swan’s advocacy for neglected and abused children began when she attended the 2013 Heroes for Children Breakfast benefiting CASA. She graduated from CASA University training last spring. She says, “I was looking for a way to give back to my community, and I’d heard great things about CASA from friends and colleagues. I’d also heard feedback from current CASA volunteers about how much support they receive from the organization, and that’s something that really appeals to me in a nonprofit.  And, you can’t go wrong with an organization that helps kids in your community.”

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Meet Rebekah Dohrman, CASA Volunteer

RebekahRebekah Dohrman learned about CASA while getting her law degree at Thomas Cooley Law School in Michigan. She had already been an active volunteer with children through SMART (Start Making A Reader Today). While she enjoyed the contributions she made, she wanted a volunteer experience that would utilize her interest the legal field and support her passion for working with kids. A friend introduced her to a volunteer opportunity that was intellectually interesting and allowed her to work with kids in a way other than as a mentor. Rebekah discovered CASA.

Who is Rebekah Dohrman?

Rebekah owns her own law practice at the Law Offices of Rebekah Dohrman in Eugene where she specializes in real estate, land use and property taxes. Between developing her business, being an active board member of Housing Land Advocates, owning and maintaining a home and spending time with her family, she has a busy schedule.

How Does Rebekah Find the Time to Volunteer?

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Meet Matt Tomashek, CASA Volunteer

MattTomashekFrom full time doctors to full time parents, retired lawyers to retail employees, CASA volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds. Their stories are as unique as the 1,528 Lane County children in foster care this past year but their reasons are all the same – they are here for the child. They volunteer their time to advocate and to be the voice for abused and neglected children in our community.

In 2014, we wanted to give potential volunteers a glimpse of what it means to devote your time to an organization like CASA of Lane County. The Volunteer Corner focused on the experiences of one CASA volunteer and we want to expand on that for the new year. Anyone who has worked with children will tell you it truly does take a village to raise a child, so we are going to spend 2015 introducing you to the amazing people who make up the CASA village, starting with Matt Tomashek.

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