by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Soul of Photography

Speak Up Now

Fairbanks Ranch resident Brandon Black knows what it means to be involved in his community. He is a board member of Santa Fe Christian School, County Montessori School of Poway, and The New Children’s Museum. A father of three children, Trevor, Aidan, and Leah, he also knows the importance of creating a safe and permanent environment for them. After speaking with some friends on the board of Voices for Children, Brandon was inspired. “After meeting with the Executive Director Sharon Lawrence,” Brandon explained, “I was convinced that this was something I had to do.”

volunteer_black01Brandon became a CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate, for Voices for Children. This organization pairs foster children with a CASA who can then be there for their foster child in court proceedings, housing assignments, or whatever they need to help this child navigate through a system that often seems impersonal and cold. As a CASA, Brandon’s current assignment is a child whom he would like to help with his studies. “The young man that I am working with continues to struggle with the foster care system and I am hoping to get him more focused on school,” he said. “He is bright, but is understandably jaded. My goal is to have him graduate high school.”

If Brandon could grant one wish for the Voices for Children organization, it would be to have every foster child paired with a CASA. Sadly the system is constantly under pressure with new children entering daily, and volunteers are always needed. “In particular we are looking for men to volunteer,” Brandon confided. “Many of the youth are without a male role model and could use the guidance.” Their signature yearly fundraiser, Starry Starry Night, was held in September, but there are many other events taking place throughout the year.

Outside of his volunteer involvements Brandon’s hobbies and interests tend to revolve around the activities of his three children, although some people might be surprised to learn he recently finished writing a book. As he continues working with Voices for Children, Brandon feels he has many burgeoning opportunities to accomplish more and more in helping others. “I would love to wish that all parents act responsibly, but that isn’t in our control,” he mused. “Helping these kids is.”


MEET JAMES

Name: James Brandon Black
Community: Rancho Santa Fe
Volunteer Affiliation: Voices for Children
Profession: Principal at Alternate Thinking, LLC
Family: Wife – Dana; Children – Trevor, Aidan, and Leah


VOLUNTEER AFFILIATION

Group: Voices for Children
Mission: Voices for Children transforms the lives of abused children in San Diego County by providing them with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). They believe that every child deserves a safe and permanent home, and to that end, will review and monitor every court file in the system, provide a CASA to every child in the foster care system who needs one, and advocate to improve the lives of San Diego County’s foster children.
Phone: 858-569-2019
Email: info@speakupnow.org
Website: www.speakupnow.org