2020 Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocacy Award: Mike LaRoche

Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocate Award

In September of 2017, CASA of New Hampshire unexpectedly lost a dear friend and outstanding advocate – Linda Egbert of North Hampton. A dependable, compassionate and a true champion for the children she worked with, Linda touched the lives of 26 children over her 10 years as an advocate. Linda was also a longtime member of our CASA Cares and Spring Fashion Show committees. Her dynamic personality and passion for CASA is deeply missed. With the generous support from Linda’s husband and family, CASA is honored to announce the creation of the Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocacy Award. The recipient exemplifies the role of the CASA volunteer – someone who has gone above and beyond in their advocacy work and made a tremendous impact in the lives of children.

2020’s Honoree: Mike LaRoche

Mike is gifted at forming relationships. This is clear from the nomination and supporting recommendation that earned him this year’s Linda Egbert Outstanding Advocacy Award. He has an innate ability to form natural and trusting relationships with children, and his professional, calm demeanor lead to excellent relationships with other parties to the case. His knowledge of the child protection system and the supports available to children, foster families, biological families, and other placements for children is comprehensive and provides tremendous help for all involved.

One of his nominators said, “He has proven his ability to listen and take in the concerns that are presented to him, reflect on that information and respond in a manner that is diplomatic and fair. When engaged in tough conversations with families, he does so in a straightforward, calm and direct manner.”

He is described as patient, flexible, collaborative, dependable, confident, objective, attentive, observant, vigilant, watchful and conscientious.

In his 11 years as an advocate, Mike has represented youth, toddlers, and school age children.  Family or adoptive families state Mike is available, nonjudgmental and has a skill to present the positive and negative aspects of the situation.

He is supportive of the child’s wants and needs, and has a gift for painting a picture of the child for the judge on the case.

“I felt Mike was part of my team he wanted my family to achieve all of the Court orders so we could reunify,” one youth he worked with said. “It was not always easy.  Mike encouraged me and my parents to do what it takes to improve the way we were doing things. It was hard Mike was there encouraging us all to succeed.”

In addition to his role of advocate for the child, Mike is a tremendous advocate for the CASA program itself. We call on him regularly to share his experiences during informational events in-person when they could be, and now online. At a recent event he told the attendees when people ask him about the time commitment his response is, “If you can find time to play golf you can find time to be a CASA.” He also serves as a peer coordinator, helping to mentor other volunteer advocates. He has assisted in recording promotional videos and radio spots and is truly willing to help in just about any way we ask. We are incredibly lucky to have him as a CASA and hope he will continue in this role for many years to come.

Congratulations to the 12 other 2020 nominees: Diahnn Smith, Hank Ouimet, Isabelle Bryant, Jim Bays, Robyn Pollock, Alan Amaro, Jeanmarie Fosie, Dave Kane, Mark Linehan, Gale Stanley, Marie Danielle Beaudry and Charlene Baxter
Thank you to our esteemed panel of judges: The Hon. John Emery, Clair Cushman, Lou Catano, Stephen Egbert and 2019 Honoree Jeremy Lory.