People in Your Neighborhood: Randy Finch works to support those who support foster children

Randy and Cambra Finch of La Jolla were co-chairs of Voices for Children's "Starry Starry Night" gala in 2018.
(Courtesy of Mixte Communications)

For more than a decade, La Jolla resident Randy Finch has worked behind the scenes to help raise money for Voices for Children, which works to ensure that all Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, volunteers are trained to support youths in foster care.

During Finch’s involvement with Voices for Children, the group expanded its outreach from San Diego County to Riverside County and its budget was bolstered to reach more children.

“Almost every county has CASAs, which are independent third parties appointed by a court to help with the raising of a foster child,” Finch said. “In San Diego, a foster child that goes into the system is a ward of the county. The county is the parent. The judge makes decisions with the input of the lawyer, the social worker and, if the child is lucky, a CASA.”

CASA volunteers are trained and mentored by Voices for Children.

“The CASA becomes one of the most influential people in the child’s life, not just as a mentor but as trusted ears and eyes for the judge,” Finch said. “Pre-COVID, one of the things I enjoyed doing was going to the court hearings where the judge would talk about the child having prom or a field trip coming up and how important it was for the child to attend and whether they needed new clothes. The CASA would help with that.”

The father of three children was moved to get involved after attending a fundraising gala.

“I was on the board of [La Jolla’s] Gillispie School and I had friends that introduced me to Voices for Children,” he said. “You come to one gala and odds are the mission and the message are going to resonate with you. Especially if you have children. You look at the opportunities they have vs. what other children have.”

Finch learned that a judge had reached out to Voices for Children for insight on how to improve a Riverside County CASA program. After partnering with the Riverside County chapter, “I’m proud that it is continuing to grow with the same quality of assistance we have been able to do in San Diego,” Finch said.

As co-chairs of Voices for Children’s “Starry Starry Night” gala in 2018, Finch and his wife, Cambra, raised more than $1.3 million. Noting that it costs $2,500 to provide advocacy for a child for a year, he said that fundraising can “change a child’s life.”

The ongoing support has not gone unnoticed.

“For more than a decade, Randy and Cambra have been outstanding champions of our CASA program,” said Voices for Children President and Chief Executive Kelly Douglas. “We are very grateful for their leadership, generosity and heartfelt commitment to ensuring that our community’s most vulnerable children in foster care receive consistent and caring advocacy and support from a CASA volunteer.”

Finch is a member of the board of directors but not a CASA, as the bylaws don’t allow members to serve in both roles at the same time. He also is on the governance committee, which recruits new members. He said the mission is to get more members from across the county.

“The benefit for me is knowing I’m giving back to my community,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to help other people.”

Voices for Children will hold its inaugural “Uplifting Voices” event at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Del Mar Plaza, 1555 Camino Del Mar. The event will feature stories from CASA volunteers, along with refreshments.

The annual Starry Starry Night gala is set for Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park in San Diego. It will include a cocktail reception, performances by the San Diego Children’s Choir and Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra, stories from CASA volunteers, dinner, dancing and more.

Learn more at ◆