The Power of Service Award is presented up to three times per year and is given to a volunteer in Utah who shows significant commitment to the overall well-being of the populations they serve.
Gayle Haas was presented with the Power of Service Award during the UServeUtah Commission Meeting held virtually on September 22nd, 2020. She was nominated by Utah Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
What is a CASA volunteer?
Court Appointed Special Advocates® (CASA) are community volunteers who stand up and speak out to help abused and neglected children. CASAs provide critical advocacy and services to vulnerable, at-risk children, ensuring that their needs and best interests are addressed. Last year, 791 CASAs in Utah advocated for 1,616 children who were involved in child welfare matters. These committed advocates donated 35,745 hours in behalf of Utah’s most vulnerable children.
Lori Short of Utah CASA provided the following nomination describing the impact Gayle has made as a CASA volunteer:
“Gayle Haas is a wonderful CASA. She has worked with some of our hardest cases. She always learns about all the children and works closely with the Guardian ad Litem to make sure the children are receiving the services that they need. She keeps track of their educational needs as well as making sure they receive the counseling services if ordered. She has worked well with the parents and encourages them to change for their children’s best interest. She does not judge and offers support. She has made sure to use the resources we have within our office and looks for other ways to fill needs. She made sure that one child had a bed to sleep in and clothes that fit him. She has worked with others to gather donations of blankets, toys, clothes, and gift cards that other CASA’s could use to help the children they were working with to have gifts for Christmas and Birthdays. She is a wonderful person and asset to the CASA program.”
Gayle has been a CASA volunteer for over 40 years. She was part of a pilot program in 1972 that introduced the Guardian ad Litem program in the Juvenile Court system located in Lompoc California. Gayle was living at the Vandenburg Air Force Base in Lompoc while her husband was serving in the Air Force and stationed in Vietnam. Joann Lundy of the Juvenile Court reached out to Gayle to see if she would be interested in volunteering for this new and exciting program, and the rest is history!
“The motivation for me is very simple. All children need and deserve a voice. I am that voice. It’s my job to communicate the positive and the negative situations my kids are faced with on a daily basis. Our duty is to stand in the shoes of the child and to see things as the child would see them. What I love about being a CASA and the entire program is seeing my kids with a smile on their face and a safe home and loving family. It’s the end results after all the abuse and neglect.”— Gayle Haas, 2020 Power of Service Awardee
We are honored to be involved in recognizing Gayle for her service to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. You can join Gayle in making a difference as a CASA volunteer! In as little as 10 hours per week you can make a lasting impact in a young person’s life.