CASA Advocates

Columbia Gorge Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) has five new volunteers. Pictured are, left to right, Cynthia Wheeler, Sonja Good Stefani, Elise Byers, Judge Karen Ostrye, Michael Marques and Barry Ginter.

Columbia Gorge CASA has announced their newest child advocates: Elise Byers, Sonja Good Stefani and Cynthia Wheeler of Hood River; Barry Ginter of The Dalles, and Michael Marques of Husum.

After completing 32 hours of training, the group was sworn into duty by the Hood River County Circuit Court Judge Karen Ostrye on Nov. 6.

Judge Ostrye welcomed the newest advocates and described many of the attributes she feels CASAs bring to the Court, as well as pertinent information concerning a child that CASA brings to the court’s attention.

CASA volunteers are appointed to watch over and advocate for children placed in the foster care system; they advocate for the needs and well-being of children through professionally trained and supported community volunteers, ensuring that children are heard, receive support through needed services and reside in loving, safe, permanent homes in a timely manner.

More than 428,000 children are in foster care in any given day in the United States, more than 260,000 children have CASA advocating for their best interests, and more than 86,000 CASA volunteers help change children’s lives every year.  

Columbia Gorge CASA serves children in Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties; advocates serve children in care so that they have the chance to live and develop in a safe, nurturing environment. Volunteers receive 32 hours of pre-service training using the National CASA Volunteer Training Curriculum. New advocate training sessions will begin in January of 2020.  If you are interested in learning more about the CASA program, contact Michelle Mayfield, training coordinator, or Susan Baldwin, volunteer manager, at 541-386-3468. Information can also be found online at

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.