"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try". 
-- John F. Kennedy

Dear friends of CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties,

     It is an honor to be selected as the new Executive Director for this wonderful organization where community members volunteer to be trained to advocate for our often neglected and/or abused foster youth. I hope to meet many of you in person and thank you for your past and present support to CASA.

     My own life’s journey will explain why I work tirelessly on behalf of at-risk students. I am a proud native of Fresno and upon graduating from Fresno High School, I earned a business degree from the University of Southern California and a graduate degree in Education Administration and Supervision from CSU, Fresno. My work experience includes being a corporate auditor for E. Gottschalk’s Inc., a district and county administrator for Clovis and Fresno Unified School Districts and Fresno County Office of Education, and owner of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educational business. Most recently, I was researcher for the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education and adjunct professor at Fresno Pacific University. For decades, my personal and professional life have focused on leveling the opportunities for at risk-children with an emphasis on early learning and being a child advocate.

     I have served as a commissioner for First 5 Fresno County, member of Fresno County Foster Youth Commission, volunteer for Made for Them, Marjaree Mason Center Top 10 Professional Women and Business committee, and as director on the board for Stone Soup Fresno, San Joaquin River Parkway and Trust, and until recently, I spent 8 years on the board of directors here at CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties. I consider my most important role to be a mother to my 22-year-old daughter, Kylene, who is a senior at Fresno Pacific University.

    I also personally know what it is like to welcome children into my home who have been suddenly displaced from their homes. I have seen first-hand the positive impact when children know that there is one consistent adult that cares about their education, fears, and goals. It is my long-term goal that we have a CASA Advocate for each of our 2500 foster youth and my short-term vision of having an Advocate for the 20% high risk foster youth. 

    Advocates walk alongside the foster child through the judicial system and communicate with the social worker and foster parents to provide a seamless support system. I invite you to learn more about CASA by visiting our website at www.casafresnomadera.org , schedule a CASA representative to present to your community affiliations, include information to become a CASA Advocate in your company’s employment and retirement packets, consider being a donor to CASA and of course, join us at our 20 th Annual Crab Feed Fundraiser on September 14th, 2018.

  Thank you for being that one person to make a difference and encouraging others to try. Feel free to contact me at whashimoto@casafresno.org and together we will be the voice that matters for foster youth.

Always in partnership for children,

Wilma Tom Hashimoto, Executive Director