It’s been almost 20 years since Mittie Pedraza first trained to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children. Since then she has become well-known in Southern Colorado for the impact she has on kids, and for her ability to inspire and encourage others to have an impact as well.
A passionate life-long learner, Mittie wasn’t always involved in the nonprofit world. She earned a Juris Doctorate in Law from Mercer University and enjoyed a career in healthcare law and corporate development.
Her path changed however in 1999 when she moved to Colorado to be closer to her three grandsons.
“My view of work changed,” she said. “I wanted to feel like I was making an impact versus helping a corporation increase their bottom line, which is what I had been doing… Plus I discovered being outdoors in Colorado is fun and I wanted to spend more time in the sun.”
Mittie has been a CASA ever since, and has advocated in the court system for countless children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or domestic conflict. She is currently working on behalf of a teen girl who suffers from trauma and behavioral issues because of the abuse she received at the hands of her parents.
“Children are our future and we need to invest time, energy, thought, care, and love into ensuring that THEIR future is secure,” says Mittie. “Any time we spend with a child is time well spent and it will never be wasted.”
In addition to being an advocate, Mittie served as CASA’s Director of Programs for 14 years with one of her most significant accomplishments being the implementation of the Peer Coordinator leadership model. She has also acted as Interim Executive Director and is currently CASA’s lead trainer for incoming volunteers.
“CASA advocates make a difference. I think our volunteers are wonderful and my impactful moments have involved listening to one of them tell a story about their case,” she said. “You can hear the frustration, the pain, the joy, and the relief. Those feelings are true and raw. Thank you CASAs for what you do for children. “
If you’d like to take a volunteer training class from Mittie, check out our upcoming training schedules. We are looking for more people to provide a voice for children, and the next advocate training begins May 29. See the schedules here.