Mara Blom Schantz has been a professional photographer for almost 20 years (not including the time spent in her younger years working for her parents in their photography studio), specializing in documenting children and families with the goal of showing their true souls. However, although most of Mara’s life has been in the world of photography, she did have another career albeit briefly, as an attorney and child advocate. Mara worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona, representing the Arizona Department of Child Safety (what was then known as Child Protective Services).
She left that position after her first son was born, but vowed to stay active in the cause of child welfare. After starting her photography studio, Artistic Impressions by Mara Fine Photography, Mara has consistently volunteered for various projects involving children who have been involved in our foster care system. She has worked as a volunteer photographer for both the Arizona Heart Gallery, advocating for adoption of foster children, as well as Maricopa County Family Reunification Day, celebrating families who have been successfully reunified. She has also worked as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer).
Mara believes that CASA is a very special and vital organization, especially given the current staggering number of children in foster care. Mara says, “I know firsthand how stressful it is and how many hours it takes for the case managers and the attorneys to give enough attention to each case. It is now impossible given the caseload they have. That is where a CASA volunteer can make a huge difference. An advocate usually has one case at a time and can give his or her full attention to the needs of the children that are not being met as well as a different perspective. I know that the last case I had would have turned out differently – and in a detrimental way for the children – if I had not been involved.”
Mara is excited to be involved with Voices for CASA Children because of the work the organization is doing on behalf of Arizona’s most under served children. For our part, we greatly appreciate that Mara has given her valuable time and talents to take our Board and Staff photos! To view more of Mara’s exceptional work, please visit Artistic Impressions by Mara.
Volunteer Spotlight article written by Karyn McAlphin.