Staff Spotlight – Dawn Kasarda

Dawn Kasarda

Nurse Home Visitor
Nurse-Family Partnership

Dawn with her Nurse-Family Partnership clients who just graduated from the NFP program

For most of my life I have been in the helping profession. I did community projects through Girl Scouts and my church community, and in college I was a Sunday School teacher. I also had an internship at a Hotline Help Center in Orange County California, where I answered calls for people in crisis or who were suffering trauma. In 2000, I graduated from California State University of Fullerton, with a bachelor’s in science in Biology and minor in Human Services. I was able to get a job as a primary care worker at a crisis children’s shelter called New Alternatives, where I worked until I moved with my husband in 2004 to Arizona.

While in the Nursing Program at Pima Community College I did a community health pediatric rotation, where I first learned about Casa de los Niños. I was excited to see there might be a place for me in Tucson that was so familiar. My first goal in becoming a nurse was to serve as a home health nurse because I believe people are most comfortable at home. Upon graduation from nursing school, I immediately found work in home health and I loved it. But I was so impressed by the work of Casa de los Niños, so I applied and in 2009 was offered a position of staff nurse at Casa de los Niños crisis shelter. I was overjoyed! For those who have seen me over the years, they can attest I love working with children and families. In December 2016, I was offered the opportunity to join the Nurse-Family Partnership team.  Casa de los Niños has a belief that each one of us is an “essential piece”, and in my role in home visitation I aim to carry that message; families together are able to work to improve their situation and support one another each playing an essential role in a greater picture. Nurse-Family Partnership helps first-time mothers to set goals such as:  finishing high school, getting a job, finding high quality childcare, and raising a healthy baby by using the resources in the community. In October I had my first set of six families graduate the program, from pregnancy all the way to their child turning two. I am so grateful to have been there each step of the way! One of the delights of working in home health, is I can and frequently encourage my mom’s to go on walks and enjoy being outside in the parks and trails in Tucson. So if you are up for a hike to Tumamoc Hill, I’m in.

Teens on the stairs