Cracking Open Hearts

Published by Sean Lemar

Earlier this month, I attended a crab feed fundraiser to support the Sacramento Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization. Highlands sponsored the event, and I was happy to attend especially given my lifelong love of shellfish! Just as I began to savor the endless amounts of crab, the program began. A speaker took the stage to describe her experience as a CASA volunteer. How she worked through anger and tears to serve as a mentor to a foster youth and advocate for their best interests before the Court. And how, as time went on, she became the most consistent person in the youth’s life, someone to call for help with anything, or just to talk.

The more I listened, the less I cared about the crab and began to realize that everyone in the room was there for a reason greater than their individual selves. A night that began with a focus on indulgence turned into a night of introspection, empathy, and eagerness to give back. A coworker created this video highlighting the evening.

Soon after the event, I learned that Highlands has long supported CASA organizations in Sacramento, Yolo, and Placer counties. I am grateful to be part of a firm that invests time and money into our community. I may even become a CASA volunteer in the future. In the meantime, I will continue to eat all the crab I can, but with a more open ear, mind, and heart.