CASA Board President LaVerne Byrd says she lives by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

In the spirit of the former civil rights leader, LaVerne sees helping foster children as a “challenge” that must be met.

“People need to step up,” LaVerne said. “You can’t just lament and say, ‘Woe is me. Things are horrible.’ Yes, they are. But what are you going to do about it? You have to look and see where you can make a difference.”

LaVerne became Board President in 2016 after three years on the panel. As president, she has pushed for action by creating four working committees designed to shake things up and move us forward.

“I want to have a strong board by having strong committees,” said LaVerne, who created ones for governance, finance, fundraising and public relations. “I want our board members to come to meetings as members of committees ready to act, not just talk.”

“We need to raise our profile and increase our fundraising as we move toward our of goal of eventually providing a CASA volunteer for every foster child in Prince George’s County,” LaVerne said.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, LaVerne grew up as a self-described “military brat.” Her father was a member of the U.S. Air Force whose final posting was at nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Since 1992, LaVerne has worked at the U.S. Census Bureau where she now serves as a Survey Statistician in its Economic Indicators Division. She is also Vice Chair of the Bureau’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and a member of its Labor Management Council.

Married with three children and four grandchildren, Laverne said she first learned about CASA a few years ago and was intrigued. But she but decided she didn’t have the time to be a CASA volunteer. So, instead she became a board member.

“I’ve always had a place in my heart for at-risk kids,” LaVerne said. “I had a good upbringing, and my kids had a good upbringing. But I always felt bad for those who didn’t.”

“I want to help,” she said. “I’m convinced that together we can.”