by MICHELLE TREMBLAY  | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Speaking Up

After his sister passed away, George Lai began to truly put thought into how he can help give back. “Before my sister passed away, she asked me and my brother to use part of her estate to support charitable causes,” recalled George. “In our search for worthy causes to support, we found Voices for Children.”

volunteer_lai_2Voices for Children (VFC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of foster children by providing them with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). “CASAs are extraordinary volunteers who speak up for the best interest of the children in the court, in school, in health – in ways that impact life,” explained George. “Foster children come into the dependency system because of abuse or neglect by their parents. During this stressful time, CASAs provide a constant source of support and friendship.”

George and his brother promptly decided to make their sister’s foundation a donor to VFC, and since then George has been an avid volunteer for the organization. “I was moved by the struggles of foster children and believe their lives can have a brighter future with the help of CASA volunteers,” said George, who believes that volunteering is part of healthy living. “I didn’t expect it but I’m glad to say that I have accomplished a happier and healthier life,” shared George. “Volunteering is good for the body and soul.”

When VFC asked George to join the board of directors he gladly accepted. “Board members ensure that a charitable organization is playing by the rules,” explained George. “We have a duty to the state and to the community. We make sure donations are best used to the efficiency and effectively carry out the mission of the organization.”

Aside from George’s volunteerism (he serves on the board of VFC, the San Diego Public Library Foundation, and the Lily Lai Foundation), he works as an investor. He is also the youngest of three siblings. “My parents brought the whole family to America from Taiwan around 1980,” recalled George. “It was a hard adjustment for us at first, but we knew America meant better lives for us. We are grateful to be here and part of the Carmel Valley community.”


Profile Information

Name: George Lai
Community: Carmel Valley
Volunteer Affiliation: Voices for Children
Profession: Investor, community volunteer
Family: Fiancée – Chihua
Hobbies & Interests: Hiking, cooking, and singing Italian songs
Favorite Local Spot: Torrey Pines State Reserve

Group Information

Group: Voices for Children
Mission: To transform the lives of abused children by providing them with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs).  We believe that every child deserves a safe and permanent home, and to that end, will provide a CASA to every child in the foster care system, and advocate to improve the lives of San Diego County’s foster children.
Contact: 858-598-2213; www.speakupnow.org

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