CASA Celebrates its 20-Year Advocates

This year, six CASA volunteer advocates celebrate 20 years providing a voice for New Hampshire’s children. As part of our upcoming annual celebration, we would like to recognize them for their compassion and dedication to our children who need a strong advocate for their futures.

Mary Atwell  

In Mary’s time here at CASA, she has advocated for 16 children, and has been a peer coordinator for 18 children. Mary has been involved in some of the toughest cases we have seen, however she has always shown up and done the work. She is a fierce lady! She has been a blessing to the children that she has worked alongside. Although she is no longer taking cases, she is still a very active peer coordinator. She is my “go to girl.” I can always rely on Mary to help me help a new advocate to show them the ropes and lean on whenever they have issues. CASA of New Hampshire is lucky to have her!

– Written by Jennifer Hollinrake, program manager



Deb Clark 

I completely agree with former Program Director Sue Meagher who in Sue’s own way states, “The only way to describe Deb Clark as a CASA is through superlatives:

  • Super at writing court reports
  • Super at working with teenagers
  • Super at always remaining objective and professional in her relationships with all involved on her cases
  • Super in her advocacy in court
  • Super in educating herself on issues on her cases
  • Super in being an outstanding representative for CASA of NH!!

Congrats Deb, on 20 incredible years of advocating on behalf of New Hampshire’s most vulnerable children!!”

– Written by Steve Pruyne, program manager


Kathy Conley 

Kathy has been with us for a total of 20 years with some time off intermittently due to work constraints.  Kathy was a nurse for many years in Boston she brings to CASA her resourcefulness and understanding of medically fragile children among many other attributes. Kathy is determined to advocate strongly for the children she represents and with that goal brings energy and determination to all the meetings on the behalf of her CASA  children. Kathy has a nice way of working with families and demonstrates that she has the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.

In particular, being able to convey to a mother the belligerent behavior her adolescent child is struggling  with  as a result of chronic neglect. Kathy is passionate about her CASA work and the CASA organization. Children have a great rapport with Kathy as do the parents. Kathy is able to win over the respect of people and personnel working on her CASA cases as they see her as fair, non-judgmental and only wanting what is best for the child. Cheers to another 20 years, Kathy. Thank you for all of your hard work.

-Written by Bernadette Melton-Plante, program director


Susan MacKenzie 

Susan has served as a CASA for more than 20 years. In that time, she has advocated for 27 children through challenging situations. Susan has taken on some difficult cases with compassion and persistence to ensure best interest for the children. Not unlike others, her current case has been fraught with appeals that have delayed permanency. Susan plans to retire from volunteering as a CASA once this case concludes. We thank Susan for her service and wish her well.

– Written by Mark Rissala, program manager


Maureen Rowley

Maureen has been a dedicated CASA for 20 years!  She has advocated for 24 children during this time. After taking a very brief leave of absence, she came back to take on a difficult case that we would have had to turn back had she not stepped forward. This case has had a few contentious hearings even before adjudication and Maureen has strongly advocated in Court each time for her CASA child’s best interests.

She has a caring and calm presence about her which I think truly helps put her CASA kids at ease. Maureen is always someone I can count on and she is a pleasure to work with!

-Written by Tessa Dyer, program manager


Elaine Van Dyke 

Elaine has only been an advocate on the Seacoast for the past 6 years, but she’s served in this role for 20 years now in New Hampshire. She has done an outstanding job as a CASA volunteer advocate.  Her past CASA supervisors recall Elaine as “dedicated and tenacious on her cases” as well as doing her job including long road trips to Fall River, Mass. with no complaints at all.  She has always pushed and advocated to the best of her ability for her CASA children and has never backed down speaking her truth in court and in meetings, especially when opposed to DCYF.

She is presently awaiting the adoption of two CASA children whom she has looked out for their complex needs since Day 1.  Glad to have had the chance to work with Elaine who is also involved on the state level with hunger in New Hampshire, which we all know is such an important issue today and into the future.

-Written By Steve Pruyne, program manager