A Dallas CASA volunteer since 2015, Lisa Tenorio Truppa is assistant vice president, technology at AT&T. In addition to her volunteer advocacy, Lisa has also volunteered for the angel tree gift drive held at Dallas CASA during the holidays.

What brought you to Dallas CASA initially?

I had recently moved back to Dallas and was looking to re-engage in the local community in some way.  My company hosted an information session about CASA and I thought it sounded interesting… as a potential nonprofit to dedicate some donation dollars to, and that was it.  However, I couldn’t leave the session without signing up to volunteer.

What do you say to friends who say “Oh, I could never do that! It’s too hard!”

It is much easier than you think.  There is a small investment up front to go through training but even that can offer some flexibility. Once you start working cases, you have a great support system in your CASA supervisor who can help cover any court dates if you have a work conflict. Outside of that, it’s really up to your discretion on scheduling with foster parents, teachers, etc.

Has being a CASA changed you in any way?

I am much more tuned into other local community issues now.  CASA made me realize there are so many things going on in our communities that we are sometimes sheltered from because it isn’t our “normal.”

When a case gets tough or challenging, what keeps you going?

I remember every child deserves a voice.

Your supervisor shares that you’re a really warm person. How have you been able to bring warmth to your cases, something that can be a struggle when cases are emotional?

What a nice compliment!  The situation that caused the child to be in the system can seem to be very black and white and right and wrong, so it’s tempting to impose that thinking on a case. In reality, life is much grayer and we can’t judge the situation. I think it’s also difficult sometimes because you don’t want to get too emotionally involved. I try to apply empathy and grace to each case by taking time to really try to understand the full picture and the different viewpoints vs. making quick judgments.  In addition, I try to make sure I’m checking in with not only the child but parents, foster parents, CPS, etc. While my main goal is representing the child, that often means helping to serve as a connector amongst those other groups.