Juan Nevarez immigrated alone from Mexico as a teenager without any English skills. Today, the senior vice president of business development and exploitation for Scout Energy, carries his roots into volunteer work with Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), providing support for Hispanic foster children.
Nevarez says he’s always been a gifted communicator with children, so he decided to utilize the skill to fill the need for male bilingual volunteers at Dallas CASA. With the local nonprofit, he helps young boys find mentorship and advocacy from someone they feel comfortable with and in a language, they feel comfortable in. “Becoming an advocate was a natural thing for me to do,” he says.
Nevarez prioritizes teaching each child the value of their uniqueness, heritage, and native language. He says being a bilingual advocate who can provide comfortable communication and understanding to their story and the pressures they face is invaluable. “I let them know they are valued, have a lot to offer, and have so many things to be proud of. It is so important to understand and value where you come from before you can be anything else.” He says a critical component of being a mentor is helping them understand “the situation that happened to them is not their fault, does not define them, and they can pick up and move towards better.”
Currently on his second case, Nevarez says the goal of Dallas CASA is always providing the family healthy resources and reuniting the children with their family. “When that does happen, and you see the positive changes you make in the family’s lives, that is what really tells me that what I am doing and the advocacy the entire system provides is impactful and made the difference.”
Nevarez says his work with CASA has helped him become a more empathetic leader and a better listener, reflecting with understanding and learning the indispensable value of connection. He says knowing he is helping make a difference in a child is his reward and the most impactful moments are a child’s occasional unexpected big hug followed by, “I’m so happy you came.”