Meet Diane Gardner, VOICES’ Child Enrichment Specialist.
Name: Diane Gardner
Current city of residence: Gilbert
What is your role at Voices for CASA Children?
The BEST role – Child Enrichment Specialist! I get to find ways for CASA volunteers and their children to connect through simple fun, doing something new or sharing a memorable time. Our community (and weather) provides so many opportunities for activities of all kinds for all ages and I love finding ways for our amazing CASAs to share their time and their life with these children.
How long have you been with the organization?
A very quick one year and two months!
What brought you to work in the child welfare field?
After a long, rewarding career in information technology, I am blessed to be able to spend more time serving our community – and love being able to focus on the children helping them find ways to thrive despite the challenges. It truly does take a village.
What’s your “Why” in “Why CASA”?
I am impressed by the impact that a CASA can make in a child’s life; through their consistent presence in the quietest of times or in sharing some of the biggest moments of their lives. The key is the combination of legal strength and amazing heart that CASA volunteers have. They are truly providing a voice so these children can be heard.
What’s the best part of your job? Why?
Finding the perfect “fit” for a child who likes art, loves the zoo or has never been to a baseball game. It’s so much fun to assemble a wide variety of experiences or help them find a partner who can serve them. CASA volunteers are so grateful and appreciative, and we love finding whatever they are looking for! I am also excited about new programs we are developing for youth empowerment and meeting needs that are life impacting.
Dogs or cats? Coffee or Tea? Mountains or Beach?
Definitely dogs – we are dog people! I have two Beagliers that are so much fun. Loved the mountains in my youth, but beaches are getting my vote the older I get.
In what cities have you lived? Which one do you consider “home”?
I grew up in Wyoming, plus lived in Oregon and New Mexico before Gilbert. Home is where family is, and Arizona has truly become our home.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I love a saying that we have on our home office wall: “Follow your heart… but take your brain with you!”
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
In my former career in IT, when my department (of 100+ members) surprised me one morning wearing t-shirts they had each individually bought that said “Diane’s Work Family” and we posed for a big picture. Information Technology is a demanding and time-intensive career, and that morning I felt my message of “Life balance” and “We’re family” had come home.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Putting together that next party or event: planning, creating and crafting!
What’s something you’ve done, but will never do again?
Rent a six-person quadricycle to “bicycle” through the mountains. With each hill, the bicycle cart weighed even more and only two of us had pedals to move it along. It’s hard to pedal when you are laughing so hard!