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Local nonprofit’s executive director announces retirement 

CASA retirement

Teresa Rothe Tardiff.

Teresa Tardiff has spent nearly 20 years with Court Appointed Special Advocates

– Teresa Rothe Tardiff, the longtime executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of San Luis Obispo County announced her retirement this week. The nonprofit CASA has helped thousands of children in crises successfully navigate the court system without charge.

“During my 19 years with CASA of San Luis Obispo County we have recruited and trained hundreds of volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of local children facing incredible hardships through no fault of their own,” Tardiff said. “Throughout this time the standing of our staff and volunteers has increased in the court and child welfare community so that now the input of our advocates is sought out and valued.”

Tardiff, an attorney, has fought for San Luis Obispo County children in foster care, many of whom were victims of abuse and other crimes. “I’m proud of what we at CASA have accomplished, thankful to the CASA staff and especially the volunteers for standing up in the court and community for foster children,” Tardiff said.

Fighting for San Luis Obispo County youth facing hardships takes hundreds of volunteers, a lot of money, and a highly coordinated effort. It’s an ongoing battle for justice that Tardiff has successfully led locally for close to two decades.

“We have secured millions of dollars in grant money to enable our critical mission of advocating for local children, most recently through the Victims of Crime Act, which recognizes that children who experience abuse or neglect are crime victims,” Tardiff said.

“We have developed a positive reputation with donors in the community who have continually risen to the occasion every step of the way to meet every need our organization has faced. I can’t thank our donors enough and I can assure them that every dollar raised was carefully and thoughtfully invested to benefit kids in crises.”

The local nonprofit organization relies on volunteers to conduct its mission. These volunteers have been up to the challenge. “CASA attracts the most amazing volunteers as advocates, board members, and fundraisers,” Tardiff said. “I thank each and every one for their service.”

Spending decades advocating for kids in crises has given Tardiff insight into the difference one caring adult can make in a child’s life. “I truly believe that CASA volunteer advocacy is helping to break the cycle of abuse, neglect, and poverty,” Tardiff said. “Children with a CASA volunteer learn another way of life where they are heard and celebrated. They learn there are people in this world who care about them and their families, people who stick around. I’ve been around long enough to see children we served a decade or more ago become healthy, contributing members of the community, volunteering as advocates, and becoming great parents themselves.”

“Having been involved in the CASA network for more than 25 years, 20 of them as CEO of Voices for Children, the largest CASA program in the West, I have been fortunate to interact with many exemplary leaders,” said Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq., CEO, California CASA Association. “Without question, I count Teresa Tardiff among them. In her 19 years of dedicated service at CASA of San Luis Obispo County, Teresa has transformed the lives of thousands of children and families by leading an outstanding CASA program. Her retirement leaves a huge void in our California CASA network of 44 local programs, but an even larger void in her community. All of us at the California CASA Association are grateful for her many accomplishments and contributions to our field, and we wish her well.”

Tardiff said she plans to stick around San Luis Obispo post-retirement. “I plan to spend time with family and friends,” she said. “Especially outdoors, with my dog, Tali.”

For more information about volunteering or donating, contact: staff@slocasa.org

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.