by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Spark Photography

A Voice for the Children

Longtime Scripps Ranch resident Dorian Sailer has been married to her husband for 26 years. Together they share two children – their oldest child recently graduated from Swarthmore College and their youngest is finishing up her sophomore year at Cornell. With both children grown and out of the house, Dorian – who has been a fitness instructor for over 35 years – felt it was time to get more involved with the community. “We have been supporters of Voices for Children for many years,” explained Dorian. “We have attended their fundraisers, and I decided that once my youngest child went off to college and we became empty nesters that I would become a CASA.”

So today, Dorian volunteers as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for Voices for Children, a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to recruit, train, and supervise CASAs who advocate rights for more than 5,100 foster care children in San Diego County. “CASAs gather information from court documents, social workers’ files, and educational, medical, and therapeutic records,” described Dorian. “They also speak with the child, family members, school officials, health care providers, and other professionals involved in the child’s life.” CASAs use the information they gather to advocate for the case child in court and school, as well as other areas in their lives. “The CASA’s role is to consider what is in the child’s best interest and to make sure that each child’s individual needs are met,” elaborated Dorian, who feels her biggest challenge as a CASA is securing the trust of the case child. “These kids have been through so much in their lives and have been let down so many times by the people they should most be able to rely on,” noted Dorian. “It is definitely a great feeling when your case child starts to open up to you and shows their appreciation of your commitment to them.”

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Dorian emphasized the organization’s need to find more volunteers. “Those interested should go to the website www.speakupnow.org and fill out an application to attend an information session,” said Dorian. “CASAs are men and women encompassing all age groups and backgrounds. They work full-time, part-time, are retired, and are students.”

When asked her wish for Voices for Children, Dorian replied, “That a CASA would be available for every foster child in San Diego. This year it is anticipated that CASAs will serve over 2,400 foster children but there are still many more kids on a waiting list who could benefit greatly from the support.”


Group: Voices for Children
Purpose: To provide CASAs for every foster child in San Diego County
Website: www.speakupnow.org


Name: Dorian Sailer
Community: The Arbors
Volunteer Affiliation: Voices for Children
Profession: Fitness Instructor
Family: Husband, two college-aged children
Interests: Tennis, my church’s music program