Ron and Jeannine Lemmon have always been active members of the Grand Rapids community.
CASA of Kent County has welcomed some new faces to the Board of Directors this year, and we’d like to introduce them!
North Kent Connect
Originally from Ohio, Claire moved to West Michigan 11 years ago, taking the position of executive director of North Kent Connect. In her role, Claire is responsible for driving the vision, building relationships, honing the organizational culture, and implementing the strategic plan.
As a former teacher, Claire knows the challenges abused and neglected children face, and how one person can change a child’s life. When she heard Stephanie speak at a Heart of West Michigan United Way meeting, Claire thought her skill set might be a good fit for CASA.
An avid hiker, cross-country skier, cyclist, and pickleball enthusiast, Claire loves exploring the trails and natural areas in the beautiful state of Michigan. Claire and her family also enjoy playing board and card games.
Disability Advocates of Kent County
Bill joined Disability Advocates of Kent County as the associate director in 2018, following a 25-year social work career. Bill’s experience includes supervising programs and services for adults, children and families, and people with disabilities.
Bill’s first job in Michigan was in foster care as a case worker. During this time, he was introduced to CASA and saw firsthand the impact volunteers make as the voices for abused and neglected children.
Originally from Maryland, Bill earned a bachelors’ degree in sociology and anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and later completed his Master of Social Work from Grand Valley State University. Bill and his wife have two children and live in Grand Rapids. The family enjoys concerts, plays, sporting events, and outdoor activities.
Client Solutions Specialist
Tara is the lead client solutions strategist for HR Collaborative and has worked there in various roles since 2018. Tara has dedicated her 20+ years of professional experience to working with business leaders to elevate their people strategy and operations, and specializing in HR functional and strategy design, people and project development, and employee relations.
Tara received her bachelors’ degree in management with an emphasis on human resources from Grand Valley State University. Tara is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).
Tara grew up in Lansing, Michigan, and lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two children. She joined the board after learning about CASA through a coworker. CASA’s commitment to advocate for abused and neglected children by being a voice in court resonates with Tara’s desire to contribute to – and impact – the community.
Former CASA Volunteer
Katherine is a former CASA volunteer and is passionate about helping children. She been involved with many child-focused organizations throughout the years and has served her local community through a wide variety of volunteer roles. Katherine will serve as Endowment Committee chair and looks forward to helping the Board guide CASA in its pursuit to be of greater service to the children of Kent County.
Katherine holds a Master of Business Administration degree with a marketing concentration and has managed two businesses, one of which she and her husband co-owned until selling it in 2020. Katherine is working to become an MSU Extension Master Gardener. She also studied at the Chicago Botanic Garden for three years, becoming a Certified Landscape Designer.
Katherine and her husband spend as much time as possible with their four children, five grandkids, and spoiled charcoal lab. She has also been an active CrossFitter for the past 10 years.
Kent School Services Network
Amanda is a team lead for Kent School Services Network (KSSN), where she has worked since 2018. She passionately supports her reporting team members in schools throughout Kent County who connect students to resources, empower families, and transform schools and communities. In 2022, Amanda was selected to participate in the Grand Rapids Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Program.
Originally from the east side of Michigan, Amanda has been a resident of Grand Rapids since attending Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in 2005. She later returned to GVSU to earn her Master of Social Work. Amanda was introduced to CASA while working as a licensing specialist at a foster care agency. She quickly recognized the positive impact a CASA volunteer can have on a case through relationship building.
Amanda is proud of the way Grand Rapids continues to grow and evolve to be a more welcoming place. She enjoys taking advantage of the many local festivals and activities with her husband, friends, and family. She is enthusiastic about how her work with CASA serves as an avenue for positive change in the community.
This story was featured in the Winter 2023 edition of CASA Connect, CASA of Kent County’s quarterly newsletter. Click here to view a pdf version of this newsletter.
Several years ago, Kym Matthews met former CASA volunteer and current Michigan CASA employee, Janice Fonger at a networking “power lunch” hosted by WGVU radio host Shelley Irwin. For Kym, this was the introduction into a community she is now passionate about.
Meet Tish! She completed CASA training in January 2022 and has already worked on three cases.
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