Meet our Staff
Annie Rasquin, LISW has been working in public service in Santa Fe and rural New Mexico for over two decades. She began her career in emergency medicine as a Paramedic Firefighter with the City of Santa Fe. Trained as a Social Worker and Infant Mental Health Therapist, Annie has worked for the past fifteen years in early intervention and behavioral health specializing with trauma impacted children and families.
Annie has extensive clinical supervision and infant mental health program experience and has consulted with and managed multiple non-profit behavioral health programs specializing in trauma informed care for vulnerable children and families. Annie was formerly the Family Services Program Director with TeamBuilders and Program Director of the Las Cumbres Community Infant Program, designated by SAMSHA as the regional child trauma treatment center. She has collaborated with and provided training to CASAs, CYFD, foster parents, and Head Start on infant mental health, the neuro-biological impact of trauma, the development of early self regulation and social emotional skills and the impact of abuse and neglect on children. Her volunteerism includes hospital fundraising, special events, emergency first response and international relief work.
Annie resides in Santa Fe with her family, dog and chickens. In her leisure Annie explores the wilderness of New Mexico, rock climbs, practices her French, and gardens.
Annie is committed to serving families in Northern New Mexico through advocacy and community partnership.
Michele Harwood joins CASA First Judicial District with a strong background in child advocacy and early childhood development. She was first introduced to the foster care system when she became a CASA volunteer in 2002, advocating for children in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties. During this experience, she witnessed the special needs of children in foster care, including emotional and developmental challenges. This realization shifted her focus to delivering developmental guidance to infants and toddlers with delays. She was an early intervention developmental specialist and family service coordinator for 12 years which allowed her to foster extensive community relationships in the medical, education, and social service areas. Michele mentored new staff, participated with teams to promote children and their development, evaluated infants developmentally and attended extensive trainings on the effects of trauma on children and their development. Additionally, she worked with CYFD on CAPTA (Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act) referrals, was part of a state team that developed outcome measures for children in New Mexico, and worked with families receiving Child Protective Services In-Home services.
Establishing relationships with families, providing developmental guidance, and sharing joy with parents as their child grows was very rewarding, and working for CASA provides Michele the opportunity to continue with this work. Her direct experience with community resources and extensive training —on the complications that drug-exposed babies experience, trauma resulting from domestic violence, and the risks that are associated with multiple home placements — are assets for CASA volunteers and the families they serve.
Michele has made Santa Fe her home for many years. Her three daughters were born and raised here. She loves tennis, animals, hiking, and the people who make up the charm and character of Santa Fe. She finds it a great honor to work with this amazing agency and its dedicated, hardworking, and professional volunteers who advocate on behalf of children and speak in their best interest.
I am very excited and motived to be part of CASA First team. I enjoy working with children and my community. My background involves working closely with children in several different aspects. Through a summer reading and nutrition program called Energy Express, I learned how to assess the situations of underprivileged children and youth in a way to better assist their needs and the needs of the local community. I have worked with a family court judge, in which I learned to better understand the legal process of family cases and the importance of having a GAL or community volunteer in cases involving children. I worked with the Women’s Empowerment and Addiction Recovery Program which provided me with additional knowledge and understanding of criminal cases and those involved, along with a better understanding of the community needs and issues. My time spent with the Victim Assistance Division has been essential in being able to understand and assist individuals in varying situations and circumstances. My background has exposed desire in me to remain in a position in which I can directly assist the community and grow. When I’m not working I enjoy reading, spending time with my family and friends, hiking, and cuddling my dog.
Foster Youth Advocacy Program Coordinator
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”
– Maya Angelou
Veronica Krupnick (she/her/hers) is a member of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona and also has Jemez and Navajo heritage. Veronica is currently attending New Mexico Highlands University, pursuing a master of social work degree. She has spent the last several years, following her passion for supporting and working with youth, as well as establishing herself as a local, state and national young leader within child welfare. Veronica is the Program Coordinator for the Mentorship, Advocacy and Peer Support Program at CASA First. Through her advocacy, she is able to use her lived experience with foster care and adoption to connect and relate to the young people she works with, as well as to provide authentic insight and lived experience perspective to service providers in the community. Veronica also currently serves as a Community Facilitator for Youth Programming with Tewa Women United, and a member of the National Foster Youth and Alumni Policy Council, the New Mexico Partners and the Child Welfare and Racial Equity Collaborative.
Her previous accomplishments include serving on the New Mexico House Joint Memorial 10 Task Force, Youth Action Board for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project, and the Youth Engagement Team for the Administration for Children and Families. Veronica was selected as a delegate from New Mexico at the National Foster Youth Institute’s 2021 Congressional Convening and was previously recognized by FosterClub as an Outstanding Young Leader in 2019. Veronica aspires to be a role model as well as a supportive and positive adult for other children, youth and young adults in the child welfare system and communities of color.
Executive Assistant and Youth Ambassadors Coordinator
Elizabeth was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After graduating with a B.S. in Anthropology from Appalachian State University, she moved to New Mexico where she served for a year as an Americorps VISTA with a Santa Fe-based nonprofit, Community Learning Network. Her biggest achievement during this year of service was a collaboration with SWAIA during the summer of 2020. In this project, she led a group of volunteers who helped indigenous artists create websites for an online-only version of the yearly Santa Fe Indian Market. Most recently, she was a youth mentor and camp counselor for a group of children ages 8-14, helping tutor them with their online class curriculum at a learning center called Greermount.
Elizabeth is very excited to take on this new position with CASA First. Supporting youth from diverse backgrounds is a lifelong goal of hers and she knows the profound impact that can be made when a young person has even one invested, compassionate adult in their corner. She looks forward to participating in community meetings and trainings, reviving CASA’s Youth Ambassadors program and refreshing CASA’s online presence via newsletters, website updates and social media posts. When Elizabeth is not in the office, she loves to explore new hiking trails, paint, read, and enjoy music, yoga and dance in the Santa Fe community.
Miranda Saint James
Youth Ambassador Founder
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
Miranda Saint James was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. Inspired by the many cultures, various arts, and diverse mindsets, she made the decision to dedicate herself to the community she grew up in.
Miranda has volunteered through a variety of organizations. From coaching a local children’s t-ball team, fostering animals, and helping out at Santa Fe Public Schools, she has continuously enjoyed serving others. Miranda feels working with children has always been the most rewarding aspect of community service because they are our future leaders.
For the past four years, Miranda has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and a CASA Ambassador. Within this organization, she quickly realized that providing support and assistance to children in need was her true calling and has joined CASA First as the Administrative Assistant.
In her free time, Miranda most enjoys being a wife, mother, and an artist. You can find her exploring the art galleries downtown, hiking with her family, or at home painting. Grateful for the opportunities in her life, Miranda hopes through her advocacy she can make a positive impact that will grow far beyond the community she loves.