meet our staff
BECKY CARSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Becky Carson has worked with children who have experienced abuse and neglect within the child welfare system for over 25 years. She served youth in a residential treatment program in various capacities for 18 years prior to joining CASA for Kids, Inc. Barry, Eaton & Ingham as the Executive Director in 2011. She has most recently expanded CASA’s service into Ingham County. Becky’s professional experience covers a range of areas related to child welfare and leadership. She is committed to quality and effective collaboration with individuals and agencies within the system and community to ensure the right things happen for children. Becky has permanent guardianship of three resilient children whose lives have been touched by the foster care system and adoption. She believes in the power of relationships to make a life changing difference.
AMANDA GERDING, PROGRAM LEADER
Amanda began her journey in child welfare as a volunteer with CASA in 2012. She has since completed her Bachelors and Masters in Social Work, with an emphasis on children and families and children's mental health, and joined as staff in 2018. Amanda has experience working in child inpatient psychiatric facilities, home-based therapeutic services, foster care, and parent education. She is passionate about bringing her experience from those multiple roles to this organization and leveraging her knowledge for volunteers and staff across all three of the program's counties. Amanda has found CASA to be the best place to make the most impactful difference for children. Amanda is raising her daughter and puppies and loves to travel the world! In her spare time, she serves children and individuals who have experienced trauma through private practice.
CATHY FRANKLIN, DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATOR
Cathy joined CASA as the Development Administrator in November 2017. She brings a unique skill set and perspective to the organization with her marketing and fundraising background. Cathy lives in Grand Ledge with her two amazing daughters and their golden retriever, Ivy. In her free time, Cathy enjoys kayaking, camping, road trips, attending music festivals, but most of all, spending time with her daughters & family! Cathy is absolutely thrilled to be part of CASA’s amazing team of incredible staff and volunteers! She finds joy every day in knowing the work she does for CASA helps enable our team of advocates to make a huge difference in the lives of so many abused and neglected children!
MICHALE VANN, ADVOCATE SUPERVISOR, BARRY COUNTY
Michale Vann received her Masters of Arts in Family systems from Western Michigan University (1998) and an advanced diploma in Community Management (2016) from Darwin University, Australia. She is currently completing her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy specializing in Trauma on line at North Central University. Michale has worked with children and families in the child welfare system for over 25 years. She has managed and led highly effective teams based in Australia and the European Union. She is passionate that a child's right to attain permanency is deemed paramount. Michale lives by the motto, “All families and individuals have the capacity to foster resiliency despite the barriers the have faced.” Michale enjoys working for CASA Barry County and capacity building in Hastings and the outlining communities!
RACHEL SWEDBURG, ADVOCATE SUPERVISOR, INGHAM COUNTY
Rachel Swedburg joined the CASA family in the Spring of 2020. She brings her unique expertise in sexual and domestic violence advocacy to our team. As well as a background working with multidisciplinary teams, program development/management and trauma competency. Currently Rachel is getting her Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Western Michigan University. Rachel has a passion for being a voice for those who need support in accessing, or do not have their own. She and her fiance, Devon, have worked to build a life that emulates these passions by taking in rescue animals (currently including Kale and Chewie, both dogs). Rachel is honored to walk alongside and mentor the CASA advocates as they raise their voices for the children we have the privilege of serving.
RAQUEL BRACE, ADVOCATE SUPERVISOR, EATON COUNTY
Raquel Brace joined the CASA for Kids team in September 2020 after relocating back to Michigan from Hawaii. Raquel worked for non-profit organizations in Hawaii, travelling around Southeast Asia doing Humanitarian work and more recently working on the island of Kauai as an advocate for victims of domestic violence as well as at-risk youth involved with family court or truancy. In addition to her work, as a licensed foster parent Raquel cared for several children in her home. When she is not working Raquel loves reading, travelling, and spending time with her family. She is excited to be a part of the CASA team and work alongside the passionate advocates who are giving up their time and energy to advocate for children.
XAVIER HENDERSON, ADVOCATE SUPERVISOR, EATON COUNTY
Xavier joined the CASA team in August of 2020. Xavier completed his college studies in central Florida where he was raised. He transitioned back to his home-state of Michigan to plant roots and be closer to his family. He has several years of youth advocacy experience, more specifically with youth in residential facilities. He also has experience working with the youth and residential staff from his various direct care positions. Through these experiences he was able to understand that he had a passion for trauma informed care and advocating for the best interest of youth. Xavier is thrilled to be a part of the CASA staff and cannot wait to see the impact that CASA can make on its surrounding communities.