Nathan Lee, CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties

Nathan Lee is very busy as the CASA program he leads, CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties, ramps up to serve more foster children.

With the assistance of a pass-through grant provided to this Central Valley program by California CASA Association with funding from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, the program and its Board have developed a three-year growth plan, which has as its objectives volunteer recruitment, increased volunteer and employee retention, and Board development.

In the nine years that Lee has been at the helm, the program “has never had anything as forward-thinking” as the new growth plan. At its core is more outreach, and activities to raise awareness of the program’s need for funding and volunteers. From seeking out public speaking opportunities to joining the local Chamber of Commerce and engaging a public relations firm, CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties is enjoying an upward trajectory. “Our Board, staff, and advocates are all passionate people and I’m sure that we will reach our goals in three years,” remarked Lee, “we’re seeing progress at every level of the organization.” In fact, Madera County had its best-attended volunteer information session in August and is on its way to increasing its volunteer pool to 175.

When asked what advice he would have for a new leaders of CASA programs, Lee shared some words of wisdom: “The short route isn’t necessarily the best. It takes time and significant effort to build a program. Be patient. Learning to do things more efficiently will lead to helping more kids.”

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